screenshots of Google Chrome

screenshot of Google Chrome

Less than a week after Microsoft released the 2nd beta version of Internet Explorer 8, Google surprised the Internet community by announcing that they will release their own browser, named Google Chrome on Tuesday. The news was first announced by a comic book by Scott McCloud—detailing Chrome’s technical specifications and new innovations—which was mailed to Google Blogoscoped.

In the comics, Brian Rakowski, the Product Manager claimed that being an open source browser, Chrome wants the community to “adopt ideas from them, just as they’ve adopted good ideas from others.” A post in Google Blogoscoped revealed a few of the striking features in Chrome, a lot of which have been featured dominantly in Opera.

Those features include having tabs on top of the address bar instead of below in Firefox, since each tabs are run as different processes. The default home page also has the familiar Opera-ish 9 speed dial boxes, displaying the thumbnails most visited pages rather than any set bookmarks.

Taking cues from Firefox 3’s Awesome Bar, Chrome has equipped the address bar with auto-completion based on your history and Google search. This bar was subsequently dubbed “omnibox”.

Chrome also provides an option of a read-only mode, called “Incognito”, which means that no history will be written onto the computer. Yes, it is the popular “porn mode”, just like IE8’s InPrivate. It also allows web applications to launch its own window without any toolbar and address bar, much like Mozilla’s Prism.

The focus of the browser is to be faster, leaner and simpler. Although both Opera and Firefox 3 have also claimed this, it’ll be interesting to see how quick Chrome will be, considering it’s being built from bottom up.

Update (3/09/2008): Google Chrome is officially up for beta here.