Happy 5th Birthday, Google Chrome

A suitable birthday cake

Five years ago, we would never have guessed a small Google project would rise to be the most popular desktop web browser, outdoing Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. We also wouldn't expect to have a whole operating system built on its core from a company who were little more than a search engine. How we were wrong.

In fact, it was five years ago yesterday when Google Chrome was revealed, by accident, a day early. The features which were spotlighted by various bloggers are ones we now take for granted. Having tabs on top of, instead of underneath, a URL bar was a novelty, and the 'omnibox' address bar would revolutionise browsers, and be transferred to all the major ones.

Google actually took the idea for 'Incognito mode' from IE's 'InPrivate' setting, but managed to grab more attention than Microsoft's iteration - perhaps the witty help text when you select it is the reason for this - watch out for people behind you, it warns. 

Chrome did have setbacks at first, however, as it launched with no way to manage bookmarks and no extensions, unlike Firefox. But Chrome is developed so rapidly, that these never had time to settle as issues. In just five years, Chrome is on version 29, and even now runs on its own layout engine, Blink, which is based upon Apple's WebKit engine.

Chrome for Android was launched in February 2012, which comes bundled as the default browser on Nexus devices, and an iOS version followed in June of the same year, to much praise for its tab sync capabilities. Google want to see Chrome everywhere, and they seem to be succeeding. They even released a metro version for Windows 8 before the OS even reached public release, even though they've said they will develop no more Windows 8 apps.

The question now, is what next?

Image: Google

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I'm not sure what's been happening with Chrome lately. I seem to hang regularly and chew all my CPU on all cores. I have to kill it manually. This is across 4 different systems with different operating systems.

SK[ said,]Chrome would be even more popular if it was available on WP platform *hint* *hint*

Can you even release a web browser for WP (other than maybe a skin for IE)?
IIRC Mozilla decided to forget about it as they found it to be unfeasible.

They decided that with Windows Phone 7, they claimed no native code support, which is true.

WP8 on the other hand does support native code. So I guess now they have no excuse.

The thing I don't understand is that a lot of the people who "love" chrome (at least the ones I speak to) praise the innovation of features that aren't standard and require Chrome to use. I've found people buidling features for website that could only be used in Chrome.

These are the same reasons we used to put so much effort into bashing IE and a large part of why IE ended up with such bad press.

[Hangs head in shame]

I just went back and reviewed my notes from that project and try as I might the only thing I can find that lead to my previous belief was some marginal stuff about the use of the new file handling APIs. So it wasn't that it was special Chrome "stuff", it was that Chrome was ahead of the game.

Happy to be proven wrong though and appologies to all those that have posted me a bashing while I reviewed my notes.

As a side note, I'm actually quite glad we got a young hip browser to enter the market and shake up all the old guys (even though I don't use it myself).

Why does the article link to stats from june to prove a point?
There was an article only yesterday about how statcounter is not that accurate to measure browser usage.

Seems very silly to me

And in those 5 years, have they managed to add something as basic as smooth scrolling yet? Last i checked(earlier this year i think), that was still a mindboggling no.

netapplications tracks user share, statcounter tracks usage share

what this means is, NA tracks unique users, statcounter tracks how many page loads,doesnt matter how many users load these. considering chrome does prefetching, these statistics dont show how many people use the browser. even firefox has more users than chrome.

I used to use Firefox in preference to IE based on the whole IE 4+ disaster/debacle. Then I moved to Chrome for a few years (based on Firefox not working for months on end and a mistrust of IE). Now I am back on IE and going to remove (what I now perceive) the more insecure browsers on my other PCs.

I installed Chrome immediately in 2008. Within a few weeks it was my main browser instead of Firefox. I had long since abandoned IE by then. Chrome just got better and better. However I have noticed occasional slow-downs, but not in the Canary build which I use at home.

Shouldn't that be a flat, thin crust pizza with no gradients? I mean, cake is raised and might confuse people.

Interesting that there is no mention of the origins of how and why Chrome was developed by Google.

It is an interesting story that involves Microsoft introducing IE7 with tracking protection that blocked Google advertising and Firefox also adding in similar technologies.

Chrome was the result to give Google a browser that didn't restrict their advertising on the web. Chrome still serves the needs of Google by not restricting the newer incarnations of cross site tracking they use that IE9/10/11 blocks.

Google didn't create their own Webkit browser out of the goodness of their hearts.

Mobius Enigma said,
Google didn't create their own Webkit browser out of the goodness of their hearts.

No, Chromium did.

Google bakes it's services and features in there (like opt-in user metrics reporting, Flash plugin, extra codecs, pdf viewer and auto-update for platforms with no centralized update system for third party apps, eg. Windows).

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