Google welcomes browser competition

Google Chrome
Google Chrome

One of the software engineers behind Google Chrome has told TechRadar that he is delighted at the renewed competition in the browser wars, as the likes of Safari 4 hits beta and Internet Explorer 8 takes shape.

In what can best be described as interesting times for the browser market, industry behemoth IE is losing ground to Firefox and Apple is insisting its latest release is three times faster than Mozilla's browser.

But although Chrome – a browser that has only been out of beta since December – does not yet have a massive market share compared to Mozilla's Firefox and Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Google software engineer Lars Bak welcomes the competition.

Healthy competition

"I think it's great that people have options; they can try different browsers out," said Bak who leads development on Chrome's v8 JavaScript engine.

"At Google we try a lot of different browsers and different designs, and people should try them out and use the one that they like the best.

"Choice is important and the healthy competition that is going on right now will benefit the user and it will ultimately make people feel more comfortable with using the web."

The speed issue

With Safari pushing the message about the speed of its latest browser – saying that it's 30 times faster than IE7 and three times faster than Firefox 3.0, Bak points out that speed is just one factor when it comes to browser choice.

"One also has to have their priorities straight why you are selecting a browser. Speed is certainly an factor, but so is robustness. In Chrome we really tried to make it a robust browser.

"People also like the simplicity which means you can understand what's going on.

"I think its speed is important but also the speed of the whole browser, as we move on and as we have more standardised web apps, it will be easier to measure the performance of a browser as a whole."

Tabs as processes

As the leading developer behind Chrome's JavaScript engine, Bak is rightly proud of running each tab within a browser as a separate application, explaining that this should be a major boon for the user as web applications continue to proliferate.

"It adds security and independence, so you'll probably notice that if you take Chrome, compared to the many browsers, that each tab will work independently.

"You'll not crash everything at the same time, that's one thing, but performance-wise on other browsers each tab still uses the same JavaScript engine and then everything starts to get slower and slower the more tabs you have open, because the working set of that one engine gets bigger and bigger."

Extensions on the way

Bak also confirmed that Google Chrome is still on track to have third-party extensions supported this year.

"We're working on that," added Bak. "As we said in the blog, this is coming this year and it's certainly something that you want.

"But when you are working on a new project it's important to focus on the basics, like our UI for instance, and I think other things come later and that's what we're doing.

"I'm pretty sure there will be a healthy market for people building these extensions for Chrome."

A full interview with Lars Bak will be published soon on TechRadar

Patrick Goss

Patrick Goss is the ex-Editor in Chief of TechRadar. Patrick was a passionate and experienced journalist, and he has been lucky enough to work on some of the finest online properties on the planet, building audiences everywhere and establishing himself at the forefront of digital content.  After a long stint as the boss at TechRadar, Patrick has now moved on to a role with Apple, where he is the Managing Editor for the App Store in the UK.