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Google creating its own browser based on WebKit

Robert Palmer

Google is developing a new web browser built from the ground up and based on WebKit, the same rendering engine that Safari uses.

The browser, called Chrome, is open-source software built with security, compatibility and speed in mind. Each tab in the browser will be its own separate running process. For example, if JavaScript hangs in one tab, the other tabs will remain unaffected. The approach is similar to the way Mac OS X isolates applications in their own private areas to prevent one crash from taking down the whole system.

Google picked an interesting way of announcing the project: They commissioned illustrator Scott McCloud to draw a 38-page comic book about the project, and distribute it under a Creative Commons license. The result is a very readable, fascinating way to learn about the new browser.

For web developers, Chrome will include strong Gears integration, and a JavaScript virtual machine that generates super-fast machine code out of JavaScript instructions. For end users, it will include a new start page that lists the last several pages and search terms you've used. It also includes a private browsing mode.

Google is planning on formally launching the project on Wednesday, but the Chrome website isn't visible to the public yet. Update: Google is releasing a version for Windows tomorrow, with Mac and Linux versions coming soon, once Chrome is "faster and more robust." (Thanks, Bryan!)

[Via Macworld]

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