FryUp: Google's Chrome dome

Awaiting a wave of parody, Juha spruces up his browser while Telecom spruces up its network

Why’s Ben called Bobby?

- The Official Google Chrome Comic modded.

Wait till the Internets see this…

Microsoft has no idea what they’ve done, releasing a commercial featuring Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates. Oh boy. The tubes will be clogged with merciless parodies.

Here.

Google’s Chrome dome

Acid3:

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2: 21/100

Firefox 3: 71/100

Safari 3.1.2: 75/100

Chrome beta: 79/100

Opera 9.52: 84/100

The Acid3 test isn’t the ultimate arbiter of browser prowess, but Chrome seems to get through it pretty well. Got to say, though, that the V8 Javascript engine is something else; the Sunspider benchmark is written by Webkit, the platform both Safari and Chrome are built on, but other Javascript tests that I’ve tried point to the same thing, namely the GOOG-browser smoking the competition:

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2: 8,039.4 ms +/- 1.2%

Firefox 3: 3,703.6ms +/- 1.7%

Safari 3.1.2 : 4,395.2 ms +/- 0.8%

Chrome beta: 2,037.2 ms +/- 1.5%

Opera 9.52: 4,792.0 ms +/- 2.4%

As an aside, I’d love to know why IE8 beta 2, which otherwise seems reasonably polished and stable, fares so badly in benchmarks.

The fast Javascript rendering in Chrome is of course very intentional, as it helps Google Apps perform that much better. Other than that… Chrome is actually pretty good. Whereas Opera and Safari feel alien to Firefox/IE users like myself, Chrome fits in quite neatly with my browsing habits.

Interestingly enough, the fast performance, simple interface and open source creds of Chrome isn’t what a sceptical Internet audience is focusing on. No, instead we’re all worried what the Big G will do with Chrome. Will it capture our browsing habits and use them for targeted advertising? Create a browser monopoly like a certain Redmondian software house?

The internet has grown up. Here’s hoping Google realises that, and remembers its “Do No Evil” motto.

- Chrome grabs 1% of browser market in under 24 hours

- 2.3% of Computerworld readers use Chrome

WCDMAchinations

Telecom’s gone quiet with SEC filings and stuff, but that hasn’t stopped rumours flying about its mobile network. The latest one is that Telecom will skip the GSM component of its UMTS network, and have WCDMA and HSPA on it only. That is, it’ll be a WCDMA/HSPA on 850 and 2100MHz.

To this end, Ericsson is said to have flown in engineers to kick-start the network rollout; Ericsson spokespeople were tight lipped about this when I asked, but didn’t deny it. If so, Ericsson has managed to drive an early wedge into the longstanding relationship between Alcatel-Lucent and Telecom. Perhaps Telecom cancelled its share buyback plan to pay for Ericsson’s involvement in the WCDMA network? I’m sure we’ll be told either way at some point.

But no GSM? Does that make sense? There are lots of GSM handsets around in New Zealand and why would Telecom say no to inbound roaming customers? Sure, GSM is pretty ancient technology now and probably should be killed off (together with GPRS, pretty please) but doing so would be a brave move by Telecom.

- Telecom cans share buyback

XKCD

The End is not for a while

Cartoon: www.xkcd.com

Robert X Cringely

Chrome sweet Chrome?

Google finally enters the browser business (finally fulfilling years of rumours), and you'd think there was nothing else going on in the world - no political conventions starring pistol-packing ex-beauty queens with pregnant teenage daughters, no hurricanes turning the weather over the southeast into the world's biggest daiquiri machine. Nope, nothing but all browsers all the time. Everyone and their dog is doing back flips trying to review the browser before anyone else. So there's a lot of Chrome out there on the web today, some of it more polished than others.   But first, a question. Before it made the Chrome beta available, Google felt compelled to publish a comic book describing its many technical wonderments. So: why is it everyone feels the need to generate comic books to explain things to us? (Or, for that matter, why Hollywood would be dead without Marvel or DC Comics?)  Have Americans grown into such dim bulbs that we need pictures to understand anything? Having watched two weeks of political conventions on TV, I'm thinking the answer might be yes. Now, the browser. I spent the first 10 minutes using Chrome feeling rather dim myself because I could not locate the friggin'  "home" icon. Then I discovered why: Google hid it. You have to go to Chrome's Options menu to turn it on. So it seems the wattage coming out of Google isn't as high as it used to be either. Otherwise, though, Chrome is amazingly nimble and stable, page loads are lightning fast, and it runs rings around Firefox and IE in terms of system resources. I opened 25 tabs at a time, trying to see when it would hit the wall. It didn't. And total memory usage was still under 100MB, though it's hard to tell exactly since Chrome seems to open separate executables for each tab. That also means if one page crashes, it doesn't take your whole browser with it (at least, theoretically). I've never managed to open more than 10 tabs or windows inside IE without it bringing my system to its knees. I can do more than 20 in Firefox, but then it starts to waddle like Rosie O'Donnell carrying a 30-pound Butterball between her thighs. So Chrome lives up to the hype in that regard. Now for the downside. As Infoworld's Paul Venezia notes, it still lacks plug ins for Java and Shockwave. Technologizer's Harry McCracken also notes that Chrome is innovative and impressive, but woefully incomplete: It doesn't support RSS or even the Google Toolbar (hmm, shades of Microsoft there). The always list-happy PC World offers up seven reasons to love Chrome and seven reasons to hate it - with the biggie being #5 on the hate list: by using Chrome, you're handing yet another slice of your privacy over to Google. And once they finally turn evil - fahgeddaboutit. Of course, Chrome is an early beta that will add plug ins and features over time. I'm sure the warts will also grow more obvious. Some analysts are saying Chrome is the dagger that will strike Microsoft in the heart. (Though I'm pretty sure you need to kill vampires with a wooden stake.) I think they got the plot right but the characters wrong. If any one is going to get thrown under Google's Chrome wheels, it will be Firefox. Internet Explorer is still protected by Newton's Third Law of User Inertia: As long as it still works, most people will be unmotivated to change. It's why AOL is still around after all these years. Those who seek alternatives like Firefox will naturally be attracted to the open source Chrome, which bears more than a fair resemblance to it. And Mozilla gets nearly all of its revenues from a search deal with Google. I can't imagine the G-men continuing to do that once Chrome comes out of beta (my prediction: 2012). After that, well, buh-bye Firefox, it's been nice knowin' ya. Now: When they start selling kilogram notebooks with just Chrome on them as an OS and everything in the cloud, that's when Microsoft needs to worry. I'd certainly line up to buy one. Wouldn't you?

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