Google Chrome rethinks the browser

Yesterday (after a comic strip teaser) Google finally took the plunge and released their own web browser named Chrome. For years they have had a defacto relationship with Mozilla Firefox, but now they have decided to go it alone with their own, radically different offering. How this affects the Firefox/Google relationship is anyone's guess, but presumably for Mozilla having your number one revenue stream release a competing product is not a good sign.

So why should I care?

Rather than a simple re-branding of Firefox, Google Chrome is a completely new beast built on top of the WebKit rendering engine (the same engine that drives Apple's Safari). Innovation is a term used pretty lightly in the technology industry, but in this case Google has really tried to break conventions and create something that is genuinely a generation better than the competition.

Process isolation comes to tabs

The biggest conceptual leap the developers have made is thinking of each tab as its own distinct process. Traditionally your browser has run as a single process, which means when one tab or window goes haywire the whole thing goes up in a puff of smoke. By running each tab as a distinct, protected process the browser gains a level of robustness never considered possible. In fact in some respects Google Chrome is a lightweight operating system unto itself, it even has its own Task Manager for monitoring and selectively killing errand tabs.

For a while there I was wondering what I was thinking...

This story grabbed my attention because it had my name on it (literally):
'Just Say No: David Harrison wants to replace your Internet' is not about me but my UK-based clone who believes it is about time to say no to ICANN and start a new Internet called Inet. Personally I think what is proposed is a bit of romantic idealism based on the idea that if more power is entrusted to a single, honorable source everything will be better.

I am of the opinion the power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. So the idea of entrusting all domain name management to a single entity and giving them the right to cancel domain names on the slightest whim seems a lot worse than the purely commercial focused, 'we'll let just about anyone sell any name at any price' attitude of ICANN. Sure it may not be pretty but at least I can go on holiday for a week safe in the knowledge that the Internet mafia that David is proposing we create do not cancel my domain name simply because I could not be contacted within 24 hours...