University Web Developers

University Web Developers

I was asked by Mark Greenfield to post my email from yesterday's discussion via the UWebD listserv here, so here it is:


Actually the browser is nothing but WebKit (Safari) repackaged with a Google "chrome" (interface) and a few niceties (separate process tabs), so testing layout in it shouldn't be any different than testing a site in Safari (or Epiphany, or Sunrise, or Arora, or other WebKit based browsers). I could be wrong about this but I heard awhile ago something about separate processes for separate windows, not tabs, for IE or Firefox; not sure if that ever came to fruition or not. So the concept which seems to be all the hype, really I think is not any new thinking; although I really do admit I hate visiting sites in a tab that halt a browser in its tracks, but that's what Firefox's recovery feature was for. This just happens to be one step better.

I like the no-frills look of it (you could do this by making your own "chrome" for WebKit though), that the bar on the bottom is non-existent, that the tabs are above the address bar, and that they worked on speed and memory improvements over Safari and Gecko. What concerns me though is the address bar. The address bar is not only your surf locale but your search engine too. Does this mean that Google can see where you surf especially since the search feature constantly looks up Google for suggested typing completions? I already typed in a wrong URL for our sport teams here at UB and got back a DNS error page from Google that had suggestions of URLs I may have been looking for. When I clicked on one of the suggestions, the browser posted a redirection page first that I noticed pointed to a Google server then went to the URL I wanted. I asked some other techies about the address bar and one gave me this answer:

If you stay logged into your Gmail/Google user account and are using web history (http://www.google.com/support/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=54068&a...) then its possible that anything you type into the address bar will be recorded.

I like where the Javascript engine is heading with V8 and a better OO implementation, and many other browsers are heading in this direction including Firefox. I believe WebKit will incorporate V8 directly in the near future. I tested it with AJAX heavy pages we have and everything worked as it should even though the objects were written with the old object model.

WebKit: http://webkit.org/

By the way WebKit is also used by Adobe AIR.

For now I'm going to stick with Firefox, probably for one reason, the extensions I have to help in development.

I'll leave you with a couple of questions. If recording through the address bar is possible how does this directly affect you when Google starts to pound you with their AdWords or their other applications? Would it be appropriate? Also are suggested endings to your search or the web address your typing be up for the highest bidder? How is Google being any different than the much maligned Microsoft, and the lawsuits they've had to endure for doing much of the same things Google is now doing and will be doing given the inevitable direction? Don't get me wrong, I'm really not opposed to the recording of some information so long as it improves my personal experience; but you just know there are people out there that will cry foul.

Other thoughts?

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I suggest reading several articles over at CNet: http://news.cnet.com/Meet-Chrome%2C-Googles-shiny-new-browser/2009-...

You'll especially want to read "Be sure to read Chrome's fine print" - http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10030522-2.html

and

"Why Goolge Chrome? Fast Browsing = $$$" - http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10030717-2.html?tag=txt
Yeah, seeing how similar the code-base is to existing browsers, the real story here, IMHO, is the new V8 JavaScript engine. If this can make its way into other browsers built on WebKit (namely, Safari), I'd be happy.

I'm also excited about the major upgrades coming to Firefox in version 3.1 that will help speed up the JavaScript processing.
Just to throw it into the discussion UWEBD member Michael Fienen wrote this excellent piece on his First Thoughts on Google Chrome

His takeaway line for me was:
Here’s the bottom line: I don’t plan on looking at Chrome as a web browser. It is, but it isn’t. The way it has been developed, the purpose, target, and reason for its being is to serve as an interface portal for increasingly complex and robust web applications.
I'm a bit hesitant about Chrome. I don't know if I want to give up my Firefox extensions after I got the, "Just right".
I think alot of people are going to be hesitant for the same reason. I'll keep Chrome on my computer but I'll still be using Firefox. You just know though that Google won't let it go for long without adding some kind of extension feature. I also suspect that they'll add direct links to Gmail and Google Docs.
What kind of traffic is everyone seeing from Chrome?
Shouldn't it just show up as Safari in most of the analytic software?

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