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By Dr. Philip Baczewski, Director of  Academic Computing and User Services

Brave New Browser

Google recently made a splash in the Web world with the introduction of a new browser. Named Chrome, Google's entry into the Web browser world boasts a new approach to browser code. While Firefox and Internet Explorer owe their heritage and much of their code to NCSA Mosaic, developers at Google took a look at what browsers typically do these days and have optimized their new browser for robust and efficient operation.

A beta test version of Chrome for Windows was released on September 1. In their announcement of the new browser on their official blog, Google states that their reason for developing Chrome was "Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web." Of course, who else is innovating on the web besides Google? It appears that the innovation they are talking about is Google search, Gmail, Google Apps, etc. But since they know the most popular web sites, they can easily test their browser to see if it will support the browsing needs of most people using the Web.

A white paper aimed at Generation X?

Many people's first introduction to Chrome was in the form of a comic book (or graphic novella, if you prefer) released before Chrome was made available. The book introduces the rationale for creating Chrome and then discusses, in a simplified form, some of the technical challenges and decisions encountered during Chrome's development. It reads like a white paper aimed at Generation X.

Google's Chrome introduction was not without some controversy. Someone apparently read Google's terms of use and discovered that by using Chrome, users "give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and nonexclusivelicense to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."  If this sounds familiar, then you may have read this column before. Loyal readers will remember that this is the same language that Google maintains in its terms of use for it's online services, including Gmail and Google Apps. For some reason, the language in the Chrome terms of use came under greater scrutiny by the online community, and after a bit of an uproar, Google eliminated that language from the Chrome terms of use which now in that section simply reads "You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

Patience and a bunch of money

While met with enthusiasm in some circles, Chrome was met with skepticism in others. Not surprisingly, Microsoft devotees will be quick to point out that Google's applications are not as feature rich as Microsoft Office. But one thing Google seems to have is patience (and a bunch of cash to sit on.) They've done pretty well in perfecting the concept of web search over the years and the browser/cloud experience may receive the same careful development.

So rather than heralding the doom of the browser, Google seems to want to celebrate it. As discussed in this column previously, some would see new technologies supplanting the traditional browser experience. They would reinvent the Internet to displace the browser. Google seems to have taken the opposite approach. They have reinvented the browser to suit today's Internet. It's a good idea, and as long as they don't make a claim to your first-born child for doing so, they may just succeed at bringing people over to their new way of browsing.


Originally published, September 2008 -- Please note that information published in Benchmarks Online is likely to degrade over time, especially links to various Websites. To make sure you have the most current information on a specific topic, it may be best to search the UNT Website - . You can also search Benchmarks Online - as well as consult the UNT Helpdesk - Questions and comments should be directed to


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