Stop comparing Chrome with other browsers, please!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chrome is out, rumor mills have already been shutdown, but crunching comparisons, of Chrome with other browsers, are reverberating. Chrome is not just a browser, it can do lot more things. Google is envisioning Chrome as platform for the future, not just as yet another browser. "Google is counting on Chrome to become the linchpin in its effort to distribute widely used computer programs like word processing, spreadsheets and calendars through the Web browser instead of as applications installed on individual machines[source].

As Shreyas rightly noted, our definition of "Web as a platform" is flawed. We don't have statful web applications, there is no per website security (All apps run in the same address space), No access to hardware, Javascript is slow (as you can see, my table of content javascript widget takes ages to load), and most importantly, No offline support.

Imagine, what if you can do the following?
  • Access all your GMail e-mails (and archive) on local system.
  • Schedule your day in "online" Calender (Ex: Google Calender) without having access to net.
  • See your Bank transaction history without being connected to internet.
  • Open your fevorite pages on web and read it at liesure (that too offline) without manually saving them into hard drive!
  • Using Google Docs and Spreadsheets offline.
  • Write a blog entry without accessing Blogger (I love this!).
  • Update your social networking sites/tools offline.
Well, the list may not end. If you ask me, I want all the offline capabilities even in my village, that too when I am offline. What do I need for that? I need a platform which can help me access all the stuff that I regularly use on net. My e-mails, calender, reader, documents, spreadsheets, my blog entries, my bank account transaction history, and just everything. I need applications which can perform just that. Who supports those applications? I need a platform which can run those applications. Who provides the platform? Well, Chrome can just do that for me. But, not now. The scope may be limited at this point of time. But I see a great potential in looking Chrome (like stuff) as a platform for future web applications. Opera chief has already said, "Chrome will strengthen the Web as the biggest application platform in the world."  One cannot ignore the fact that offline capability is the next big frontier for web apps.

Now, we have answers to age old problems [Courtesy, Shreyas's blog].
  • Hard to write stateful applications / no offline support: Chrome includes Gears.
  • Lack of per website security: Each tab in chrome runs in a seperate process, which also means this process can be given special permissions based on its security certificate! So your bank application can finally update to your harddisk and your passbook can be available offline!
  • Javascript is slow: Javascript virtual machine in chrome will make it reasonably fast.
Google Chrome is far from done. But it's promising. Here are some interesting things Chrome can do [Courtesy, Jeremiah Owyang].
  • More accurate web analytics: Now that Google has it’s popular web analytics trackers are in many websites, they could potentially increase data gathering by using a browser.
  • Any website can now be social:  Google’s browser could eventually make any website social –even if the website owner chooses not to participate. How? A plugin could be created that allows your gmail, gtalk, and other network to join you wherever you surf on the web, essentially your social graph could go with you as you travel the web.
  • A default browser on the Android mobile platform: Google has announced it’s intention for it’s Android, a mobile platform suitable for software developers who want to incorporate their websites using Chrome. Expect to see a lightweight mobile version be available. If that comes out, it will revolutionize the mobile experience.
  • New methods to monetize: With more accurate data (combine analytics and location aware scraping) Google can now return more intelligent search results to users –in fact, each person could receive a customized search results page, advertisers would follow suit to quickly achieve higher rankings.
 Harry McCracken answers 10 FAQ about Google Chrome, I guess that should clear all your myths and help you understand the reality, Read here. One thing is clear, "Chrome is not aimed at competing with Firefox" — and furthermore should not affect Google's financing of Firefox[source].

I guess, it's high time that, web users should look forward for the next big thing in web apps - The new platform, something like Chrome. Sadly, it takes some more time to see the realities. Neverthless, worth waiting. Keep moving, forward!

1 comment:

Amit M Surana said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_chrome
If at all google wanted to release 'just' browser they would have never backed Firefox. Chrome is something more than Browser.
IE8 will going to have tough time with Browsers like Safari, Firefox, Opera and now Chrome.

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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.