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Google Chrome: Is there anything under the hood?

Tester provides a deeper dive into the New Browser Engine
By Thomas A. Powell , Network World Lab Alliance , 09/08/2008
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The recent introduction of the Google Chrome browser wildly succeeded in setting the Web abuzz. Web digest after Web digest regurgitates the main points about the obvious user interface features and the cute corroborating comic, but is there more? The answer is yes, a bit of which — like it's foundation and some user-facing features — has already been around the browser world for quite awhile. But others, like several network-focused measures, will serve to be notable advances.


See Powell's follow up: The Google Chrome conspiracy theories


The most important point about Chrome that has been widely mentioned — even if the implications of which are often glossed over — is that Chrome is based upon WebKit. What this means is that Chrome does whatever the particular build of WebKit it is derived from does (at this point build 525.13). For example, while the current build of WebKit passes Acid3 perfectly, the current build of Chrome does not since it is built on an older version of the WebKit rendering engine.

Acid3 fail

This will obviously get rectified when Google pulls the new WebKit code into a future version but, for now at least, Chrome can't claim the king-of-the-hill mark in terms standards compliance.

Numerous other complaints about Chrome's rendering quirks, bugs in the CSS text-shadow property, and alternate style sheet problems were registered by Web designers in a matter of hours after the launch, but it is likely a great number of these issues are due to the older WebKit build, as opposed to Chrome-specific concerns.

However, it would be unwise to brush aside the WebKit engine inclusion too quickly as it presents more problematic issues as well. In particular, the drive-by download problem dubbed "carpet-bombing" that plagued some Safari versions a while back is currently alive and well in Chrome. In short, this is Beta software and should be treated as such from a security standpoint especially: avoid doing your beta testing on sites with a high potential for malicious intent.

There are many noticeable user features about Google Chrome, some subtle some not so. The top tabs are one of the things that were nice to use.

Opera-like speed dial

When making a new tab the special start page that presents an Opera-like "speed dial" feature is also new and improved from other implementations with bookmark and recently-closed tabs links.

Opera-like speed dial

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