September 2, 2008 Google-philes will be delighted to find out that the company has officially confirmed it's working on a completely new Web browser to compete with Internet Explorer and Firefox. Because Google Chrome is a completely new product, and not an incremental update of an existing piece of software, it is able to completely re-conceive the web browsing experience - and as a result, we can expect some very cool new features out of it. Oh, and Chrome will be completely open-source.
Google doesn't make a habit of getting into things in a small way - look at Google Maps for an example of how a simple mapping solution has broadened to include satellite imagery, navigation assistance, the amazing Street View feature and some very cool integration with Google's search products.
Google is already king of content on the Internet - its simple interfaces and brilliantly designed search algorythms draw somewhere in excess of 70% of all web searches in the USA - and the company's recently announced intention to break into the browser war will prove very significant.
This separation of processes will also avoid the tendency of browsers to bloat out in memory terms, meaning quicker performance overall.
Testing of a new browser is a truly monolithic undertaking, but Google's vast database of websites past and present is pretty much the most comprehensive source of such information on the planet, which is allowing the developers to perform testing at a stupendous rate. Every week, "Chrome Bot" tests millions of pages, returning performance results that the development team would normally wait months to get from human beta testers.
Chrome will also feature a brand new Java Virtual Machine called V8, built from the ground up to handle the new range of process-heavy Web applications that are starting to proliferate on the web as access speeds improve - applications, none too coincidentally, like Google's own Gmail and Google Apps, which thrash current level browsers to their limits.
Display components have been taken from Apple's Webkit, which has been recognized for its excellent performance metrics, standards compliance and clean code base.
While Chrome is a clear shot at Microsoft's complete dominance in the browser sphere, the folks at Mozilla probably have the most to lose out of its release - Firefox has risen up as the number one competitor to IE for users who want to get away from the ubiquitous Microsoft product, and a good percentage of these users will probably be very excited about Chrome.
Either way, we shouldn't have to wait long for a beta release - Google has a long acknowledged "launch early and iterate" policy, and now that news of the browser is public, it will be available for download sometime later today.