Live-blogging the Google Chrome announcement

Update, 12:49 p.m.: You can try Google Chrome at http://www.google.com/chrome and I hope every Windows user takes it for a spin. It’s only a seven megabyte download, which means it’s really fast to download and try.

Update, 12:46 p.m.: Chromium, the site dedicated to open-sourcing Google Chrome is now open at http://www.chromium.org/

According to a press release this morning, Google will host a webcast press briefing and demo of Google Chrome at 11 a.m. Pacific time today. I think this link (Windows Media Player) or this link (Real Player) will get you there in case you want to watch.

I plan to be in the room and I’ll comment on tidbits that especially catch my ear.

10:58 a.m.: Just got out of another meeting and now I’m sitting in the room with all the press. I see Google Folks like Brian Rakowski and Ben Goodger along the wall. Linus Upson and Sundar Pichai are here too.

11:07 a.m.: Google Chrome will be available at noon today.

11:09 a.m.: Sundar Pichai will talk for about 10 minutes about why Google built Chrome.

11:10: Sundar is contrasting Web 1.0 to Web 2.0, with “rich, interactive AJAX applications.”

11:11 Sundar: “I do pretty much everything inside a browser.” What are the sorts of things you could do if you rewrote a browser from scratch?

11:12: Talking about the simplicity of Google Search. Shows a snapshot. The browser is called Chrome because it tries to minimize the amount of “chrome” (surrounding stuff) in the browser. “The user should enjoy surfing the web, and the browser should stay out of the way.”

11:15: Because Google Chrome uses WebKit, we’re not adding a new rendering engine to the web. It should render just like Safari.

11:17: Multi-processing make each tab independent, so the browser is much more robust to harmful pages.

11:18: “V8 executes JavaScript much much faster than current technologies.”

11:19: Available for Windows Vista and XP at start. 43 languages, 122 countries. “We are working very hard on Mac and Linux platforms.”

11:20: Open under a BSD License. The name of the project to open-source Google Chrome is Chromium. Ah, chromium is used to make chrome in the real world. :)

11:21: Sundar Pichai takes a seat and Ben Goodger is up: Says the goal is “A modern platform for windows and applications.”

11:22: Live demo begins with Ben talking and Brian Rakowski driving. Tabs are on top.

11:23: Brian is talking about how Google Chrome handles tabs. You can grab and drag tabs. You can grab and drag outside the existing window.

11:24: Brian is clicking on the close-tab box. The next tab moves exactly under old tab, with the next close-tab box under your mouse. The tabs don’t resize until your mouse leaves the tab strip.

11:24: Ben Goodger says “Where’s the search box in this?” Research showed that people got the address bar and the search box confused, because you had to decide what you wanted to do before you chose which box to type in.

11:26: The Omnibox combines a search box and an address bar. Brian says that it’s a “little bit psychic.” As a long-time Google Chrome user, I can vouch for this. :)

11:27: Brian demonstrates autocomplete with a -> amazon.com. He types [alaska cruise] in the Omnibox, hits enter, and it does a search.

11:28: Brian does a search on Amazon.com. Then hit types ‘a’ and Tab in the Omnibox and searches on Amazon directly. You go straight to Amazon’s search results without touching Google search in any way.

11:29: Ben is talking about reducing mental overload on users so they can just start doing what they want and Chrome will keep up. Here comes the New Tab page!

11:31: New tab page shows most frequently visited page, most frequent searches, bookmarks, and recently closed tabs. You can choose whether a bookmark strip follows you as you surf (in case you want to save screen space).

11:32: Ben/Brian talk about Incognito window, aka “porn mode” ;) Brian demos with the query “toe fungus”. :) Nothing is saved in your history, cookies don’t persist.

11:34: Ben wants the browser to be convenient, e.g. making downloads easy. Brian shows clicking on a file makes a friendly download arrow appear. You can drag/drop files from browser into file system.

11:35: Crap. Getting slash/digg/something-dotted.

11:35: Ben/Brian demoing Prism-like functionality. You can turn Gmail into something that looks exactly like an application. No useless chrome such as address bar.

11:37: Ben stands down. There’s a lot of deep magic in the Google Chrome UI that people will appreciate the more that they use it. Now Darin Fisher is up to talk about things that are underneath the hood.

11:39: Darin says that in the same way that crashing apps shouldn’t hurt your desktop experience, a crashing tab shouldn’t ruin your browsing experience.

11:41: Darin is discussing the Google Chrome sandbox. In Google Chrome, you have to find a bug in the rendering engine *and* a bug in the sandbox. Here comes the Google Chrome task manager, which shows all the processes in Google Chrome.

11:42: Darin/Brian are showing the full-fledged process manager. Each plug-ins is in a separate process. If you want to kill only Flash on a YouTube page, that’s trivial to do and the rest of the web page runs perfectly fine.

11:44: Brian demonstrates a stuck/hung tab. You can still switch tabs! You can kill the tab from the tab strip or from the process manager. When you kill the tab, you see a “sad tab.” :) If you reload the page, Google Chrome will even remember the scroll position.

11:44: Brian kills Flash on a YouTube page and you get a “sad plug-in.” Just hitting refresh will reload the page and the plug-in. Much more stable and robust.

11:46: Ooh, here comes the speed demo! IE is loading content from local disk. 220.64 ms. No try the same pages in Chrome. In Chrome, it’s 77.28 ms. That’s static content.

11:47: Lars Bak is visiting from Google Denmark and up to talk about dynamic page speed because of V8, the JavaScript virtual machine. He’s been doing virtual machines for 20 years and this is one of the most exciting times he’s seen.

11:48: Hidden classes watch as things run. Shared objects in a class can be optimized more.

11:49: Three different design ideas to make JS faster. #1 is a native compiler for JavaScript. #2 is using classes and inline caching. #3 is an efficient memory management, including fast object allocation and better scalability. Lars made a funny joke about how every must certainly understand what he’s talking about (it’s a bit dense).

11:52: Dynamic speed test! IE does 7.5 RPH while Google Chrome does 602.8 RPH, where “RPH” is a measure of how many benchmarks could be run per hour.

11:53: They’re publishing 11,000 lines of JavaScript performance benchmarks on code.google.com/p/V8 .

11:54: Sundar is back up. *Chrome has no tie-ins to Google search services.* “Chrome is configured to be used with any search provider.” It’s been over two years of work.

11:55: Marissa urged the Chrome team to write the desired Google Chrome press release two years ago.

11:56: Larry Page is up. Chrome is his primary browser (no surprise). He uses it on an older computer to make sure that Chrome works well there. I can vouch that Larry is a bit of a freak about wanting everything (Google, browsers, the web) to work faster for users.

11:58: The open-source model allows anyone to make the world better. Mozilla can take any of Google’s work and incorporate it if they are interested.

11:59: “A ton of Googler using it [Google Chrome] that were happy” was the criteria for why Google Chrome was launched now.

Noon: Q&A starts.

Christian Grant: At Blackhat Defcon conference, you could browse using Tor so that no one could see your IP address. How anonymous is your web browser?
A: I can answer that right now. You can set a proxy, so I’m sure that you could set a proxy that used Tor. I’ll have a post up about just how Google Chrome protects your privacy soon.

Larry Magid from CBS News. It’s easy to drag a tab, but you can splash them all over. Can I snap them back in place?
A: You can drag them back into the tab strip.

Jason Kincaid, TechCrunch. How does Android interact with Google Chrome?
A: (Sundar) Both share the WebKit and V8, but they will have different interfaces.

Rick Mayer? Plans beyond the x86 architecture?
A: V8 has been ported to ARM as well and different operating systems. Doing another port is doable (anyone could do it with skills and 3-4 months).

Niall Kennedy: How will upstream commits work, along with standards and ECMA and such.
A: Fully committed to doing upstream commits. We want to build off of tip-of-tree of WebKit.

Follow-up: Do you intend to be an HTML5 implementation?
A: Missed it, but I’m pretty sure we want to be good netizens here.

Nikkei: Next-generation web apps will be possible–what sort? Is Chrome the operating system of web apps?
A: (Sergey) I wouldn’t call Chrome the operating system of web apps. It’s a fast engine that can run web apps. We think open-source + Google can make Chrome even more robust and powerful.

Wired: How do plug-ins work?
A: (Sundar) Chrome supports plug-ins such as Flash. As far as extensions/add-ons, we don’t have that in the beta right now, but we do definitely plan to have an API.
A: (Sergey) And anyone can extend it because it’s open-source.

Follow-up: How hard is bug testing?
A: We’ve incorporated the same Web Inspector as WebKit and V8 has a JavaScript debugging console.

Wendy Tanaka, Forbes: How does Incognito relate to ads?
A: (Sundar) The session is private to your computer to keep your session/cookies out of history, but it doesn’t block ads.

Miguel Helft from NYT: Plans for non-download distribution (bundle, partnerships)? Why decide to take on a whole effort yourself?
A: (Sundar) Willing to look for opportunities where users can use Chrome. The current binary is around 7 megabytes, so it’s very easy for users to download.
A: (Sundar) We will continue the path of helping open-source and other browsers. We saw an opportunity to rewrite the browser from scratch (to bring our point of view and without imposing our point of view on anyone else).

Q: Want people to copy you and incorporate parts of your technology?
A: Absolutely. Would love if every browser had better/faster JavaScript technology.

Q: Still ongoing support for Firefox?
A: (Sundar) Will continue to support e.g. with malware/phishing and will share code. (Darin) We love sharing code, e.g. BreakPad for crash reporting.

(Sundar) Starting today, everything is open-source, and he hopes for more sharing. “We are all very grateful” to Mozilla. There is no doubt that Mozilla will remain at the forefront of browser development. Larry adds to that saying that they love Mozilla.

Greg Sterling: No personalization or other tie-ins to Google.
A: (Sundar) Nope.

Greg Sterling: How about location awareness?
A: (Sundar) Location awareness isn’t in there, but there are efforts in Gears to let people have location awareness.

John Furrier: Any innovations/speed-ups around video?
A: (Darin) Generally that’s plug-ins, which are supported as in any browser (except in a different process for more protection). HTML5 has more functionality in that respect.
A: (Sundar) Google Chrome is optimized for speed from an end-to-end perspective.

Q: When did the project started?
A: (Sergey) After hearing for a couple years “Google should build a browser,” that compelled Google to work on it. Sergey uses a Mac + VMWare but wants a native port soon. :)

Q: How many users had used Chrome without leaking?
A: Just a lot of Googlers being very careful. We don’t comment on team sizes, but it’s been a huge effort in terms of people for about two years.

Q: Stephen Shankland, CNET. In a perfect world, would Chrome vanish into other browsers?
Q: Is there direct financial benefit to Google? Is this new ad real estate?
A: (Sundar) Only in the sense that people use Google more and that the web gets driven forward. But nothing like ads that directly help Google.

David Louie: What sort of market share do you hope for?
A: (Sergey) We want a diverse and vibrant web ecosystem, with several viable browsers. There’s still 80% market share with one player.

Q: Why should people switch?
A: Faster, more robust, safer web experience. It’s not a huge decision. It’s seven megabytes, it smartly imports all your settings, and it pretty much instantly makes your work faster.

Brian: You spend more time in your browser than in your car. You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive.

Q: Kara from WSJ: How do you see this as a business? What reaction do you expect?
A: We’re competing against a product that is given away for free on almost every computer.

Q: Were you worried about IE8?
A: We started two years ago, before IE8.
Q: Okay, were you worried about IE7?
A: Choice is important or else there’s no progress made. Everyone gets to Google through a browser, so that’s an important part of our ecosystem.

Q: Would it be a success if IE9 included large parts of Chrome?
A: Absolutely. And if IE9 is just much faster, that’s fine too.

Sergey: Our business does well if there’s lots of healthy internet access. That’s why it’s in Google’s interest to have better cell phone browsing, open air waves, the internet in developing countries. Any improvement to any browser is probably good for Google.
Larry: Making our site faster generates more usage of Google. If you can search/work faster, probably people will use Google faster.

Miguel Helft: Cannibalize Firefox instead of IE?
A: (Sundar) By adding our voice, we hope more people will realize that there’s choice, and we hope it will be a win for both Firefox and Chrome.

Christian Grant: Spoke with a hacker in Vegas, who said that the internet is unsafe. It seems like you’ve innovated in the security and privacy space. 10-15 open ports on a browser is scary.
A: (Sergey) Process model + sandbox really reduces the vulnerability surface area and makes for an inherently more security browser. DNS and BGP exploits are scary, and things like using HTTPS/SSL more might help. Go Sergey, dropping the BGP acronym. :)

And that wraps it up. Jazzy music starts back up.

62 Responses to Live-blogging the Google Chrome announcement (Leave a comment)

  1. Well, I followed your bouncing ball. Got there a half hour before. Didn’t want to miss a moment of the Googleness.

    Browser got resized. That’s a bit annoying. So, I drag it bigger. Darn thing got resized again. You folks don’t seem too web friendly today — sort of Web -2.0.

  2. Matt- Sure everyone appreciates your chiming in and sorting out the confusion …. Now, PLEASE …. can they change that preview music ??!! Whew

  3. Thanks for the link! How come this link wasn’t officially announced? I was totally surprised to see there’s gonna be a launch/showcasing of the browser.

  4. The same way that Safari shows sites? Oh oh,…!

  5. I want to watch also the slide. ;) Thanks for live, so: if my website work on Safari that work on Chrome too? :P

  6. what was the mention of sandboxing mean mate?

  7. how do you set the omibox to search live and not google

  8. Matt – how long have you been using Chrome?

  9. I assume Incognito mode hides your actions from everybody but the Google data collection team? ;)

    Making an application is by far my favorite aspect so far.

    I am in love with what I see so far….very cool.

  10. No Mac native version yet. Might download it into my XP install in Parallels. Waiting for Mac, though. Do they have an ETA?

  11. Hurrah, using Chrome now! It crashed for me on the Chrome announcement video page ironically, the first thing I did. But it’s working now and working with tabs is great, so fast! :D

  12. the download is available now…i’m using chrome now, super fast & easy to use so far…

  13. Hi Matt

    Using Chrome. Damm its quick, especially on this crap laptop that i have.

    Thanks guys!!

  14. Lots of potential. Gears app integration and incognito mode are great … so far :)

  15. Very cool. Thanks for posting a link to the web cast.

  16. DaveN, it’s trivial to set your search engine to a different one. Just right-click on the Omnibox and you’ll see the option to do it.

  17. “Damm its quick, especially on this crap laptop that i have.”

    Welcome to Chrome, Mark. :)

  18. spiderman05

    I am testing Chrome now, it is unbelievably fast!!! I am eager for the Linux port.

  19. “Matt – how long have you been using Chrome?”

    Tonynwright, I’ve been using it for months. It really hurt to have to run a different browser at search conferences just so no one would catch on. :)

  20. Great Browser… really fast. I believe is the tip of a new web browsing age. Congratulations on your new Browser.

  21. drnigelc

    What are the chances of having Google Toolbar available in Chrome?

    I use several different computers throughout the course of the day, and would be lost without the Google Toolbar Bookmarks.

    Chrome is great (so far), but without Google Toolbar, I can’t use it.

  22. Linda

    Just tried Chrome but I’m not ready to make it my default browser just yet. It needs work. I don’t like Firefox either.

    The Bad: I found that it did not import all of my bookmarks for one thing. It’s also lacking in customization such as being able to reduce what is in the top of a browser down to the bare minimum (I hate when screen space is taken up by this stuff).

    The Good: It is fast.

  23. Matt,

    This browser is just flying. Will it retain as such in future? I like mozilla but that takes a while to load which is not an issue with chrome.

  24. moo

    It’s neat and zippy, but no extentions yet :(

    Every review from firefox users will be about how it’s great but unusable without extensions. Wish they would share more about the extension framework straight away, they seem to be saving the whole thing for a later beta :/

  25. Whopeee it’s quick…have I missed something or is the Logo the Simon game from years back? ;)

  26. still liking it but does it support live bookmarks? it didn’t import mine & when i visit any sites with rss available, i don’t get any options to subscribe.

  27. Thanks, Matt. I am using it on a Mac right now with Parallels installed. Works very well.

  28. ok.. testing the Chrome browser não. It really is a lot faster than internet explorer,. a little bit faster than firefox,.. and I’m loving the user interface already.

    So far a very good first impression!

  29. lol,… oh boy,… when I type too fast I sometimes mix languages. The above “não” should be “now”. :)

  30. @Matt

    I have also the same question as “drnigelc”, when will Chrome can come with google toolbar? Life seems to be very used to with that tool. I love the browser but need to have google toolbar. Let us know about it.

  31. jpopusa

    We can not make “Chrome” our default browser.
    IE or something is preventing the change over.
    OS is Vista SP1 32 bit

    Also, cookies were not preserved. Did not keep our radio, TV stations and videocast, among other links. We had to re-enter all this data.
    Yes we did ask Chrome to get this data from IE.
    Could be we installed it while IE was still running.

    Much much faster then IE.

  32. I love it! Fast, fast, fast and very impressive. The UI is great … Small touches like when you hover over a link a temporary status bar appears.

    I was a little disappointed with “application mode,” but I think it shows promise. For instance, I’m stuck using the old desktop version of Google Talk because I like to minimize it to the system tray, I was hoping application mode would help bridge the better online Talk app to this type of interaction, but it’s not quite there yet.

    My big complaint is like Dave, I want to see subscription options for feeds, and it renders XML Feeds without any default formatting. :(

    Also, I’m dying to see some plugin/extension framework.

  33. Andy

    First impressions… maybe. I have no idea why Google would not have a seamless use of their Google Bookmarks tool I use in FF included or supported.

    FF stays may default for now. Google needs to fix gabs in a hurry; this is not like Gmail or Docs where they can wait for fixes or add features bit by bit.

    It will be interesting to see if the developer community will improve on it.

  34. toby

    “DaveN: how do you set the omibox to search live and not google”

    in fact as soon as i installed Chrome it asked if I wanted to change search engines

  35. WOW. Google Chrome is super fast and I love the UI. I have to have Google Toolbar for work so I duel browser it for a while. Cant wait for the toolbar so I can go solo. Very Nice!!

  36. The auto intelligence of Chrome and the UI is fantastic.
    Its fast also, just need to know if it supports AJAX.

  37. Come on. Bug bug bug

    Doesn’t render PHPMYADMIN properly. FAIL.

  38. “what was the mention of sandboxing mean mate?”

    Aussiewebmaster, that means that each process in a tab has security restrictions that should keep a tab from misbehaving.

    dave, I’m not sure about live bookmarks, but I’d assume that they’re not supported yet.

    “What are the chances of having Google Toolbar available in Chrome?”

    I wouldn’t expect it anytime soon, drnigelc, because right now there’s not even an API for extensions ready. But much of the nice stuff that Google Toolbar does can be done pretty easily in Google Chrome.

  39. “Doesn’t render PHPMYADMIN properly. FAIL.” Do you know if it looks okay in Apple Safari? What’s an example page?

    Peter (IMC)–yup, it’s quite fast. :)

  40. drnigelc

    Thanks, Matt. I’ll keep my fingers crossed. Maybe there’ll be a way for Chrome to interface with my Google account and slurp in my bookmarks. Yeah, that’s the ticket… :-)

  41. phpMyAdmin just looks slightly uglier to me but it works as expected not a biggie to me.
    I love to make Chrome my default browser but can’t do without my live bookmarks, hopefully soon…
    I just noticed this textbox can be extended by dragging the bottom right corner, extremely cool…but what happens when jQuery or any other javascript library was providing this feature, does it still work?
    less code to include on our sites now though.

  42. addictist

    Google Bookmarks por favor.

  43. Not being able to use the toolbar is an issue in the world of SEO. If you can Matt, try to get the toolbar available soon. That little green bar may seem not so important, but it’s a saves the trouble of having to check how many backlinks a site has.

  44. Thanks for the clarification… will you be doing a post about tips you have picked up as a longer term user perhaps

  45. I found a bug, don’t know if it’s just in my pc or on every pc though. When watching a video in youtube in full screen, and then hitting escape to go back to the normal screen the flash player hangs the browser up. Luckily after about 30 seconds Chrome allows to cancel the process and you don’t have to open all the tabs again.

  46. Nicholas, I’m sure that Chrome folks are reading here, so they’ll see your feedback on XML.

    “in fact as soon as i installed Chrome it asked if I wanted to change search engines”

    toby, that’s exactly what is supposed to happen, but it warms my heart to hear it from you too. :)

  47. Oh yeah, Aussiewebmaster. I’ve got a rough “power tips for power browsers” blog post drafted. :)

    “I just noticed this textbox can be extended by dragging the bottom right corner, extremely cool”

    Yup, resizeable textareas with a simple drag/drop are built it. :)

    Peter (IMC), I’ll pass that on. I suspect that the wide release will flush out a few new bugs, but that the Chrome team will quickly stomp those out, leaving you with a very nice browsing experience.

  48. oh, and another thing,.. :) Chrome, like Safari, seems to be even more specific with CSS than Firefox. I’ve seen some sites in which Chrome (and Safari too) make mistakes with CSS. I’m saying that they make the mistakes because BOTH IE and FF do it right.

    Mostly related to simple styles of text.

    We never really tested before in Safari (unless a client specifically made a point out of it which happened only once) because getting a site to work right in 3 browsers (IE 6, IE 7 and FF) is already enough work.

    But I guess now we need to include Safari and Chrome as well.. :) Most people here love Chrome already because it makes gmail and Adwords work so much faster.

    But if Chrome could be a little smarter with CSS that would be highly appreciated!

  49. elmonty

    Flash isn’t working in my copy of Chrome. And when I click on “Install Plugin” it doesn’t do anything. How do I get help using this thing?

  50. elmonty

    Also, it doesn’t list Firefox, my default browser, in the list of browsers to import from.

  51. Elmonty,

    I had that problem too. You first have to (re)install java. http://www.java.com.

    After that I managed to get flash installed.

  52. jpopusa

    elmonty,
    It listed Firefox 3.01 in the list of browsers for me.

    We just did a clean install of Windows Vista 32 Bit SP1 with all windows updates as of 9/08 No Anti Virus or Junkware installed. Windows defender is off.
    Did a new download install of Chrome.

    Chrome still does not want to become the defualt browser.
    Has anyone else installed Chrome under windows vista sp1?
    Can you set it to default browser?
    I wonder if one of windows recent vista security updates is preventing Chrome from becoming default?

  53. jpopusa

    Peter (IMC)
    I also had to re-install java.

    Maybe the installer needs to detect if apps required to install Chrome are already on your PC such as other software that I have did. Such as; snapstream, VeohTV and sling media did.

  54. It will be hard for me to leave Mozilla. Chrome doesn’t allow you to have toolbars for stumbled and DIGG does it?

  55. “This browser is just flying. Will it retain as such in future?”

    San Nayak, speed has been a top priority for Chrome, and I’d expect it to remain a high priority.

    No toolbars or add-ons right now, panzermike.

  56. jpopusa

    Update. defualt browser setting not working.

    Did more tests after getting a response from Google.

    XP w/SP3 works fine
    Vista 32 Bit and 64 Bit works fine
    Vista with SP1 32 bit does not work for us. (Something in SP1)
    Other people are having the same problem as us. We were told to turn off UAC and see what happens. Did not work. Google tells us that, it may be a Microsoft Vista problem since we have nothing else on our system and reminded us that this is a Beta version.

    Waiting for MAC version to try.

    By By “Chrome” CU in 6 months
    Back to Firefox.

  57. I don’t understand the EULA: i can’t decline the browser’s update, right? :-)

  58. jpopusa

    Update: Default browser setting problem Vista SP1.

    Two more tests and procedure that worked.

    1 – If you start in Windows Vista (SP1) “Safe mode with networking”
    You can then set Chrome to the Default browser. Restart Windows normal mode. Chrome then retains it’s default browser status.

    2 – By setting Chrome to the default browser before upgrading to SP1.
    Chrome will retain it’s default status after SP1 is installed.

  59. kristalsoldier

    Hey…

    Interesting blog! Interesting posts! And, even more interesting responses!

    Just a couple of observations…

    1 – The distinction of being ‘one of the first browsers with tabbed browsing belongs to Opera’…not Firefox as you mention!

    2 – Plug-ins and other such stuff can wait…how about a few skins for Chrome? Oh…there are a few floating around but how about a few from Google? Say in navy blue or some such darker colour?

    BTW, did I say, I am thoroughly enjoying Chrome and your posts on the ‘privacy’ issue was – to say the least – comforting!

    Cheers!

  60. 2 and a half years years later, google chrome has made it’s foot print. I know, I used it as my main browser. I dont even use firefox anymore. Whats next on the roadmap for chrome?

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