Chrome is out. Google has my vote

So Google Chrome was unleashed on the unsuspecting public yesterday with very little preceding hype. It enters a market that has thus far has had only two major players – Mozilla and Microsoft. Backed by marketing power that is unrivaled in the online world, it is strongly positioned to take both on (and especially Microsoft).

A web browser built on the webkit engine (same as Safari), Chrome offers a simple UI and extensive support for web technologies. Having used it for a couple of days now, it is striking to me how obvious it is that Google is a web company – in bold contrast to another software giant currently pushing for their next-gen browser.

There is a lot to like about Chrome: It is open-source. The tab oriented UI is a great innovation. The simple UI allows for an impressively large work area in the browser. It comes with a built in DOM inspector and Javascript debugger (almost rivaling Firebug for functionality). The tab/process manager is an awesome feature (though a possible source of contention). And most importantly – aside from minor inconsistencies from the standards (shared by Safari), all web sites render perfectly under Chrome.

I was somehow surprised though it only reaches a score of 79 on the acid3 test, since it is based on an engine that already scored a perfect 100 (webkit). For comparison, Firefox 3.0.1 achieves a score of 71 (though with less graphical glitches), IE7 achieves a measly score of 13 in about triple the time, and IE8 beta 2 just barely beats that with a very low 21.

It is my personal hope that Chrome steals enough market share from Microsoft to help push out older IE versions, thus catapulting the web forward. This has been a fantastic move by Google, and the online world is watching to see how the market will respond. Is a Google OS next on the agenda?

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