Google caught us all by surprise with the leaked comic book detailing their new browser Chrome. The new browser is made from the ground up around how we consume the web using multiple tabs. Google gave enough information about how this tabbed environment will work that is really exciting. Chrome is designed from the get-go to keep each tab containing a web page as a separate process so that when something bad happens in a tab the rest of the browser is unaffected. This makes sense on many technical levels but it has me wondering how well this will work on limited resource computers such as netbooks.
Browsers can consume a lot of resources, both memory and hard drive, as the user opens many tabs. Current browsers pretty much have only the current tab active though, with the others lying dormant in the background consuming resources but not actively processing information. According to Google Chrome will work more like a multi-tasking operating system with each tab doing its own thing simultaneously with the others. I can see that this might prove a bit taxing to netbooks with limited processors like the Atom or Via which begin to bog down with too many processes running concurrently. This will be interesting to see how it plays out and the first beta should be available today so it won’t be long now.
I am really excited about Chrome because it’s the first browser designed from the ground up to work the way we do with tabs. All current browsers started life as single site browsers that eventually got tabs added on top when we demanded them and Chrome will have an advantage starting out that way from the beginning. Chrome is also based on the technology being used in the Android browser and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chrome crossing the desktop/ mobile device divide. This is going to be fun.