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Google Unleashes First Open Source Browser

There's no place like Chrome

Google is set to introduce today a new web browser designed to more quickly handle video-rich or other complex web programs, posing a challenge to browsers designed originally to handle text and graphics.

Google officials confirmed news of long-rumoured plans to offer its own web browsing software, entitled Google Chrome, in a company blog post after it mistakenly mailed details of the plan to a Google-watching blog, called Blogoscoped.com.

The company statement calls the move "a fresh take on the browser" and said it will be introducing a public trial of the browser for Microsoft Windows users. Details can be found here.

The internet search leader is also working on versions for Apple Mac users and for Linux devices, it said.

The launch of Chrome coincides with the recent introduction by rival Microsoft of its Internet Explorer 8 last month. Internet Explorer holds roughly three-quarters of the browser market, followed by Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari browsers. Google said its engineers have borrowed from a variety of other open source projects, including Apple's WebKit and the Mozilla Firefox open source browser. As a result, Google plans to make all of Chrome software code open to other developers to enhance and expand, the company said.

Google VP of product management Sindar Pichai and engineering director Linus Upson said in a blog post: "We realised that the web had evolved from mainly simple text pages to rich, interactive applications and that we needed to completely rethink the browser."

They said Google Chrome promises to load pages faster and more securely but it also includes a new engine for loading interactive JavaScript code, dubbed V8, that is designed to run the next generation of not-yet-invented web applications.

Pichai and Upson wrote: "What we really needed was not just a browser but also a modern platform for web pages and applications, and that's what we set out to build."
A Google spokesman declined to comment beyond the blog post.

Microsoft said the recently upgraded version 8 of Internet Explorer offers many new privacy and user control features.

Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer, said in a statement: "The browser landscape is highly competitive."

Hachamovitch said: "People will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and, more than any other browsing technology, [it] puts them in control of their personal data online."

Google confirmed that it had prematurely mailed a copy of a promotional comic book detailing plans for Chrome to a blogger. Blogoscope's writer, Philipp Lenssen, scanned and published the 38-page comic, which can be found here. [Reuter]

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