Google Chrome: Rethinking the Browser - as an Operating System

September 02, 2008

As widely covered in the technical and popular press (example), later today Google is releasing the first version of its new Web browser, Chrome. What makes Chrome different from the seemingly endless array of browsers already available?

For now, we'll have to make do with the, umm, whitepaper. But if what Google says is to be believed, Chrome is nothing less than a fundamentally new way of looking at the browser's place in the computing ecosystem.

Microsoft looks at the browser as an extension of its proprietary operating system. Firefox, Opera, and Apple look at the browser as a lightweight, fast, standards-compliant, stable application that runs within the host operating system.

Google looks at the browser differently, and Chrome may define a new category of software.

To Google, the browser is an operating system in its own right, with everything the term suggests, ranging from security to isolation of processes to the ability to run demanding applications.

Although Google's not saying so directly, Chrome is a Web-oriented operating system that runs on top of your operating system of choice (or coercion).