Friday, December 12, 2008

Google's Chrome Reaches Version 1.0

Just yesterday it was revealed that Google wanted to move its nascent web browser, Chrome, out of beta and into a full release, soon. Soon apparently meant within 24 hours, as Google today announced that Chrome has exited beta and reached version 1.0.

Either by downloading it (here) or receiving an update, you can now install version 1.0.154.36.

As I indicated yesterday, it seems as thought much of the push to get Chrome out of beta early (let's not forget how long Gmail has been in beta) is based on Google's desire to partner with OEMs and get Chrome on the desktop of PCs. However, in the blog post announcing Chrome's release, Sundar Pichai, VP, Product Management at Google said:
We have removed the beta label as our goals for stability and performance have been met but our work is far from done. We are working to add some common browser features such as form autofill and RSS support in the near future. We are also developing an extensions platform along with support for Mac and Linux.
Chrome has some unique features, such as using a sandbox to foster security, and their own JavaScript virtual machine called v8. Chrome uses the WebKit open source browser engine, as well.

And, while impressive in its speed, it's lacking in features. In terms of basic browsing features, there's no issue (aside from bugs), but in terms of a feature set that matches Firefox, for example, the current lack of extensions leaves a lot to be desired.

Additionally, adding features usually adds bloat, so the question is still open if Chrome can maintain its speed as it matures. And it's still very buggy: uTest used its crowdsourced testing model on the three beta browsers, Firefox 3.1, IE8 and Chrome, and came up with the following results:
  • 461 uTesters evaluated Chrome and identified 297 bugs, including 12 percent that were classified as showstoppers.
  • 356 uTesters evaluated Internet Explorer 8 and identified 168 bugs, including 9 percent that were classified as showstoppers.
  • 514 uTesters evaluated Firefox 3.1 beta and identified 207 bugs, including 24 percent that were classified as showstoppers.
Now, quite obviously Firefox 3.1 and IE8 have plenty of bugs as well, but those weren't released today; they're still in beta.

Still, it's there. So readers: wait or switch?



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