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.
11:19: 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.
11:48: Hidden classes watch as things run. Shared objects in a class can be optimized more.
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.
11:54: 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?
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?
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.