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.

Recent email rumblings

Email as a technology is pretty boring but it is hard to tell that this morning with two really interesting announcements coming from Eudora and the Hula-Project.

Eudora are the creators of of the first usable pieces of email software for normal people. Since that time in the early 90's they have fostered a relatively small but loyal user base. Recently however they have announced that the latest version of Eudora email client will be their last based on the traditional code-base. As a replacement Eudora are going to build their unique interface and feature-set on top of the Mozilla Thunderbird code-base which is a win/win for both parties. The move allows Eudora to focus on specialised functionality rather than maintenance of general features whilst for Mozilla it increases their overall user-base and in theory should result in a more stable product overall.