Google releases web browser "chrome"

Posted Tuesday, September 02, 2008 5:30 PM by Nathan Zaugg

chrome-205_noshadow Google has done it again!  In a completely unexpected (at least by myself) move they have released a browser into mainstream.  Frankly, I am quite surprised!  Google was such a fan of Firefox that I never thought I would see them in competition.  It also surprises me because building web browsers has is not part of Google's core business.  This is also an obvious swipe at Microsoft which doesn't excite me.  A friend of mine upon hearing the news said "I don't like the idea of any major web presence building a major web browser and driving a supposedly "open source" technology to do what suits them best."


I have no idea how large the install really is.  The download is a tool that downloads the rest of the browser.  It downloaded for a few min's and began the install.  My estimation was it was probably about 10-30MB though I really don't know. The installation was very uneventful.

What Google did right

There are a few things I really like.  Here they are:

  1. The interface is nice, sleek, and small.  I hate browsers (Firefox, you know who you are) that take up TONS of vertical space on my screen!  The space is wasted with things I don't even need or want!  Google's chrome did a nice job here!
  2. I like the idea of a multi-threaded browser (even if it is a multi-process browser).
  3. JavaScript is now a 1st class language in chrome.  V8, the JavaScript execution engine It is runs JavaScript much the same way as managed code being JIT'ed directly to the CPU. As a result, it is LIGHTNING FAST!
  4. I really like the 'URL Bar'.  It has a suggest/append that actually gets what I want!  I also like the landing page.
  5. I like what they did to get the "sandbox" mode.  I especially like the way it's transparent to the user what is crashing your browser (usually a plug-in).
  6. I like the incognito feature which allows zero trace browsing.  I don't know why we don't do this all of the time! 
  7. The browsing experience is very fast.  The browser UI is also fast.
  8. I like the tab reordering.  It's very smooth!
  9. I think the "move tab to another Google browser window" is cool but ultimately not very useful.
  10. I like the "task manager"

What Google didn't do right

  1. The multi-process approach is a turn off.  This means that they have to have a JavaScript rendering engine in memory for each process, it means that things like settings, etc exist in each process.  Most of all processes are EXPENSIVE!  Very much overkill!  Yes, I know that this is how IE does it, and I've never liked it!
  2. The browser is too simple and has very little customization out of the box.
  3. It uses a *lot* of system resources! Especially Memory!
  4. I do not like that it uses a lot of the same code as Safari!  SAFARI NEEDS TO DIE!  IT SUCKS!!!  HOW MANY YEARS DO WE HAVE TO WAIT FOR HTTP1.1 PROGRESSIVE DOWNLOADING?  This is a big deal in my opinion.
  5. It has a book marking system that claims to be different but sure looks exactly like IE7 bookmarks to me!
  6. It was using a lot of my CPU!  Something like 60% of my CPU was going toward chrome!  I may have had a malfunctioning plug-in but even when I closed the tabs that looked like the culprit it was still using 11-17% of my CPU!
  7. It didn't seem to start up any faster than IE8 or FF3.
  8. Google didn't release anything until now.  So far as I know there wasn't even a beta version for users to try.  I looked for some plug-ins but couldn't find any.  A little heads up to the development community could have had many plug-ins available by the time the browser launched.
  9. I know this is a small thing, but I hate when the browser "styles" text boxes for me!  What if I wanted to implement my own highlighting?  What if I didn't want it to highlight?
  10. It would lie to me about processor usage!  I had a process that was using 45% of my CPU and that none of the processes claimed to take that much CPU.  This was a Gmail tab, ironically!
  11. Silverlight didn't work.  It tired, but never really loaded.

I've never been comfortable with Google's privacy policy.  The fact that it reads my G-Mail and suggests products much like the topics inside rubs me the wrong way.  The fact that they would like to track everything you do including every web page you visit SCARES ME!

Anyway, here are some JavaScript comparisons.  I only have IE8 (which isn't going to be ready for such tests) so those tests aren't very relevant.

Google vs IE 8 (in IE 7 Emulation Mode)

TEST                   COMPARISON            FROM                 TO             DETAILS


** TOTAL **: 4.93x as fast 18324.4ms +/- 1.9% 3716.2ms +/- 3.5% significant


3d: 6.99x as fast 1816.8ms +/- 4.1% 260.0ms +/- 11.7% significant
cube: 10.5x as fast 645.2ms +/- 5.8% 61.6ms +/- 8.8% significant
morph: 3.96x as fast 481.8ms +/- 11.0% 121.6ms +/- 21.7% significant
raytrace: 8.98x as fast 689.8ms +/- 3.4% 76.8ms +/- 18.2% significant

access: 19.5x as fast 3398.4ms +/- 1.3% 174.6ms +/- 11.1% significant
binary-trees: 47.3x as fast 482.4ms +/- 5.7% 10.2ms +/- 5.5% significant
fannkuch: 18.2x as fast 1199.0ms +/- 1.4% 65.8ms +/- 29.0% significant
nbody: 21.6x as fast 1322.4ms +/- 1.5% 61.2ms +/- 14.0% significant
nsieve: 10.6x as fast 394.6ms +/- 8.9% 37.4ms +/- 17.0% significant

bitops: 18.4x as fast 2197.0ms +/- 3.1% 119.2ms +/- 11.7% significant
3bit-bits-in-byte: 38.1x as fast 327.6ms +/- 7.1% 8.6ms +/- 7.9% significant
bits-in-byte: 24.5x as fast 485.2ms +/- 3.2% 19.8ms +/- 19.6% significant
bitwise-and: 25.4x as fast 858.2ms +/- 2.8% 33.8ms +/- 9.5% significant
nsieve-bits: 9.23x as fast 526.0ms +/- 7.3% 57.0ms +/- 19.9% significant

controlflow: 77.7x as fast 435.0ms +/- 1.8% 5.6ms +/- 12.2% significant
recursive: 77.7x as fast 435.0ms +/- 1.8% 5.6ms +/- 12.2% significant

crypto: 10.8x as fast 1176.4ms +/- 3.6% 108.6ms +/- 12.5% significant
aes: 12.2x as fast 518.8ms +/- 9.1% 42.6ms +/- 11.4% significant
md5: 8.04x as fast 318.4ms +/- 6.2% 39.6ms +/- 33.3% significant
sha1: 12.8x as fast 339.2ms +/- 7.3% 26.4ms +/- 9.8% significant

date: 1.87x as fast 1739.4ms +/- 5.1% 928.4ms +/- 6.6% significant
format-tofte: 1.57x as fast 733.8ms +/- 6.9% 468.6ms +/- 6.0% significant
format-xparb: 2.19x as fast 1005.6ms +/- 8.6% 459.8ms +/- 9.9% significant

math: 6.73x as fast 1607.6ms +/- 4.9% 239.0ms +/- 15.2% significant
cordic: 4.79x as fast 676.4ms +/- 5.9% 141.2ms +/- 27.4% significant
partial-sums: 5.98x as fast 443.4ms +/- 4.3% 74.2ms +/- 18.6% significant
spectral-norm: 20.7x as fast 487.8ms +/- 12.2% 23.6ms +/- 19.9% significant

regexp: *1.07x as slow* 719.6ms +/- 3.6% 767.2ms +/- 3.3% significant
dna: *1.07x as slow* 719.6ms +/- 3.6% 767.2ms +/- 3.3% significant

string: 4.70x as fast 5234.2ms +/- 2.4% 1113.6ms +/- 5.4% significant
base64: 15.8x as fast 2212.6ms +/- 4.4% 139.6ms +/- 20.7% significant
fasta: 9.57x as fast 1117.2ms +/- 2.8% 116.8ms +/- 7.5% significant
tagcloud: 1.86x as fast 597.0ms +/- 3.4% 321.4ms +/- 8.5% significant
unpack-code: 1.82x as fast 710.8ms +/- 3.8% 391.2ms +/- 3.3% significant
validate-input: 4.13x as fast 596.6ms +/- 1.8% 144.6ms +/- 10.4% significant

Google vs Firefox 3

TEST                   COMPARISON            FROM                 TO             DETAILS


** TOTAL **: 1.65x as fast 6138.2ms +/- 27.7% 3716.2ms +/- 3.5% significant


3d: 3.31x as fast 860.8ms +/- 66.9% 260.0ms +/- 11.7% significant
cube: - 422.8ms +/- 114.5% 61.6ms +/- 8.8%
morph: 1.68x as fast 204.6ms +/- 1.6% 121.6ms +/- 21.7% significant
raytrace: 3.04x as fast 233.4ms +/- 40.0% 76.8ms +/- 18.2% significant

access: 6.01x as fast 1049.8ms +/- 31.9% 174.6ms +/- 11.1% significant
binary-trees: - 185.2ms +/- 168.8% 10.2ms +/- 5.5%
fannkuch: 7.25x as fast 477.2ms +/- 8.9% 65.8ms +/- 29.0% significant
nbody: 3.98x as fast 243.4ms +/- 11.2% 61.2ms +/- 14.0% significant
nsieve: 3.85x as fast 144.0ms +/- 10.4% 37.4ms +/- 17.0% significant

bitops: 5.52x as fast 657.8ms +/- 2.2% 119.2ms +/- 11.7% significant
3bit-bits-in-byte: 13.2x as fast 113.4ms +/- 7.2% 8.6ms +/- 7.9% significant
bits-in-byte: 8.76x as fast 173.4ms +/- 6.4% 19.8ms +/- 19.6% significant
bitwise-and: 4.44x as fast 150.0ms +/- 12.0% 33.8ms +/- 9.5% significant
nsieve-bits: 3.88x as fast 221.0ms +/- 2.5% 57.0ms +/- 19.9% significant

controlflow: 12.8x as fast 71.8ms +/- 5.1% 5.6ms +/- 12.2% significant
recursive: 12.8x as fast 71.8ms +/- 5.1% 5.6ms +/- 12.2% significant

crypto: 3.29x as fast 357.0ms +/- 6.3% 108.6ms +/- 12.5% significant
aes: 3.37x as fast 143.6ms +/- 11.4% 42.6ms +/- 11.4% significant
md5: 2.73x as fast 108.2ms +/- 9.9% 39.6ms +/- 33.3% significant
sha1: 3.98x as fast 105.2ms +/- 3.1% 26.4ms +/- 9.8% significant

date: *1.73x as slow* 537.8ms +/- 43.8% 928.4ms +/- 6.6% significant
format-tofte: ?? 359.8ms +/- 56.1% 468.6ms +/- 6.0% not conclusive: might be *1.30x as slow*
format-xparb: *2.58x as slow* 178.0ms +/- 19.3% 459.8ms +/- 9.9% significant

math: 2.59x as fast 619.0ms +/- 12.5% 239.0ms +/- 15.2% significant
cordic: 1.93x as fast 272.6ms +/- 6.1% 141.2ms +/- 27.4% significant
partial-sums: 3.14x as fast 233.0ms +/- 35.7% 74.2ms +/- 18.6% significant
spectral-norm: 4.81x as fast 113.4ms +/- 9.1% 23.6ms +/- 19.9% significant

regexp: *1.68x as slow* 457.0ms +/- 7.7% 767.2ms +/- 3.3% significant
dna: *1.68x as slow* 457.0ms +/- 7.7% 767.2ms +/- 3.3% significant

string: - 1527.2ms +/- 37.5% 1113.6ms +/- 5.4%
base64: - 145.0ms +/- 12.2% 139.6ms +/- 20.7%
fasta: 3.01x as fast 351.2ms +/- 49.9% 116.8ms +/- 7.5% significant
tagcloud: ?? 311.8ms +/- 71.6% 321.4ms +/- 8.5% not conclusive: might be *1.03x as slow*
unpack-code: 1.28x as fast 501.0ms +/- 14.4% 391.2ms +/- 3.3% significant
validate-input: - 218.2ms +/- 54.4% 144.6ms +/- 10.4%


Google vs IE 8

TEST                   COMPARISON            FROM                 TO             DETAILS


** TOTAL **: 4.70x as fast 17474.2ms +/- 1.6% 3716.2ms +/- 3.5% significant


3d: 6.87x as fast 1786.8ms +/- 1.8% 260.0ms +/- 11.7% significant
cube: 10.1x as fast 620.0ms +/- 5.4% 61.6ms +/- 8.8% significant
morph: 3.86x as fast 469.6ms +/- 6.5% 121.6ms +/- 21.7% significant
raytrace: 9.08x as fast 697.2ms +/- 4.1% 76.8ms +/- 18.2% significant

access: 16.3x as fast 2847.8ms +/- 1.7% 174.6ms +/- 11.1% significant
binary-trees: 49.4x as fast 504.2ms +/- 8.6% 10.2ms +/- 5.5% significant
fannkuch: 18.5x as fast 1219.8ms +/- 6.5% 65.8ms +/- 29.0% significant
nbody: 11.6x as fast 712.0ms +/- 6.8% 61.2ms +/- 14.0% significant
nsieve: 11.0x as fast 411.8ms +/- 14.2% 37.4ms +/- 17.0% significant

bitops: 19.0x as fast 2268.8ms +/- 6.8% 119.2ms +/- 11.7% significant
3bit-bits-in-byte: 37.9x as fast 325.6ms +/- 11.3% 8.6ms +/- 7.9% significant
bits-in-byte: 24.9x as fast 493.4ms +/- 8.0% 19.8ms +/- 19.6% significant
bitwise-and: 27.0x as fast 913.8ms +/- 13.5% 33.8ms +/- 9.5% significant
nsieve-bits: 9.40x as fast 536.0ms +/- 4.3% 57.0ms +/- 19.9% significant

controlflow: 78.6x as fast 440.4ms +/- 7.2% 5.6ms +/- 12.2% significant
recursive: 78.6x as fast 440.4ms +/- 7.2% 5.6ms +/- 12.2% significant

crypto: 10.8x as fast 1168.0ms +/- 5.7% 108.6ms +/- 12.5% significant
aes: 12.4x as fast 528.4ms +/- 6.3% 42.6ms +/- 11.4% significant
md5: 7.96x as fast 315.4ms +/- 8.8% 39.6ms +/- 33.3% significant
sha1: 12.3x as fast 324.2ms +/- 4.8% 26.4ms +/- 9.8% significant

date: 1.75x as fast 1620.4ms +/- 1.9% 928.4ms +/- 6.6% significant
format-tofte: 1.53x as fast 716.2ms +/- 3.1% 468.6ms +/- 6.0% significant
format-xparb: 1.97x as fast 904.2ms +/- 3.8% 459.8ms +/- 9.9% significant

math: 6.38x as fast 1524.8ms +/- 2.9% 239.0ms +/- 15.2% significant
cordic: 4.68x as fast 661.0ms +/- 2.9% 141.2ms +/- 27.4% significant
partial-sums: 5.74x as fast 426.0ms +/- 5.7% 74.2ms +/- 18.6% significant
spectral-norm: 18.6x as fast 437.8ms +/- 2.8% 23.6ms +/- 19.9% significant

regexp: *1.06x as slow* 724.8ms +/- 3.0% 767.2ms +/- 3.3% significant
dna: *1.06x as slow* 724.8ms +/- 3.0% 767.2ms +/- 3.3% significant

string: 4.57x as fast 5092.4ms +/- 2.0% 1113.6ms +/- 5.4% significant
base64: 16.0x as fast 2232.8ms +/- 4.5% 139.6ms +/- 20.7% significant
fasta: 8.52x as fast 994.8ms +/- 3.1% 116.8ms +/- 7.5% significant
tagcloud: 1.80x as fast 579.0ms +/- 4.3% 321.4ms +/- 8.5% significant
unpack-code: 1.78x as fast 698.2ms +/- 3.5% 391.2ms +/- 3.3% significant
validate-input: 4.06x as fast 587.6ms +/- 6.2% 144.6ms +/- 10.4% significant

You can see that JavaScript performance is the major advantage to Chrome.  They claimed in their comic intro that using multiple processes would result in less memory usage, but I didn't think so -- that woulden't make any sense.  The figure next is a table from Google's own memory tool.  I opened all of the same websites on Chrome and Firefox to see what the memory footprint really looked like.  Keep in mind that Chrome base install is a very basic browser!  My Firefox has a TON of useless plug-ins and themes installed and it still beat Chrome quite handily!

Memory (Google vs Firefox 3*)



Virtual memory 
154,844k 5,816k 160,660k 287,304k 107,336k
Firefox 3.0.1
132,572k 11,552k 144,124k 129,752k 11,844k


MemoryVirtual memory
37564k 21116k 58680k 43728k 26796k
Tab 2
Gmail - Inbox (9) -
27616k 2660k 30276k 44416k 9816k
Tab 3
CUEgle 3
8472k 2304k 10776k 32484k 9816k
Shockwave Flash
56276k 10032k 66308k 94536k 11828k
Tab 9
MSN Video
10872k 3376k 14248k 25140k 9816k
Tab 10
7736k 7380k 15116k 10396k 9816k
Tab 14
Understanding User-Agent Strings
2668k 1736k 4404k 12256k 9816k
Tab 17
Windows Live Hotmail
2304k 1624k 3928k 12540k 9816k
Tab 20
SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark Results
1336k 2120k 3456k 11808k 9816k
Tab 25 (diagnostics)
About Memory
8908k 3428k 12336k 9644k 9816k
Σ 163752k 219528k 296948k

I haven't decided wither I will use this browser on a daily basis. Probably not -- no compelling reason to switch, but I can see that some will really like this browser. Perhaps once I get used to the idea of Google making a browser and have IE tick me off once more I'd be in a different place, but for now I kind of don't want a Google Browser.



# re: Google releases web browser "chrome"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 1:02 PM by Greg

My belief is that Google released Chrome to stop the Firefox growth and the use of adblock and flashblock to block ads.  Google is highly dependent upon ad revenues, and they don't want a highly popular browser that blocks all their ads.

# re: Google releases web browser "chrome"

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 1:21 PM by ilya

Thanks for the review... I'd like to suggest renaming comparison table column headings. i deduce that FROM means the non-chrome browser and TO means chrome results? wouldn't it be easier to just label the columns with the name of the tested browser? i know, it's a nit...

the key of the whole "debate" on chrome is in your very last paragraph: "no compelling reason to switch". In other words, why bother?

# re: Google releases web browser "chrome"

Wednesday, October 01, 2008 6:12 AM by g

This is what all reviews should aspire to.

It had all the information I wanted. I was well organized and I was able to consume it rapidly.

The summary was an excellent point and as a previous comment pointed out it was the key to any debate on the browser.

The technical information was good and not overwritten to the point that I bored (I'm an IT professional, but the stats on a browser that will probably never be used in an enterprise environment are of only passing interest to me) and well placed.

I like the writer of this review. He thinks like the average IT person. His priorities are well placed and thought out. And he has strong opinions, but doesn't rant like FF users and Linux dweebs, of which I am one of both.

I know this comment doesn't add anything, but I just had to compliment this article because I'm so tired of reviews that are just long winded blathering (like this comment, for example) by "experts" that wouldn't know multi-threaded processing from an advertisement on a Wheaties box.

# Props from Redmond

Monday, October 06, 2008 1:52 PM by Nates Stuff

I subscribe to Redmond Press "Redmond Report" which is something of a news channel for Microsoft

# Microsoft, Please Do Not Release IE8!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 2:49 PM by Nates Stuff

For the last few months I have been testing out IE8 and for the last few months I have been testing out