I have been reading a lot of reviews about Chrome. Most people seem to be comparing it to Firefox, which i think is underestimating Chromes capabality. I think its has nothing to do with the browser at all, it has everything to do with the platform.
For long we have touted web as a platform, Apple took the first big step when it chose the web as its Platform for the first generation iphone. That approach failed because the web as a platform was flawed, the reasons IMHO were as follows:
- Hard to write stateful web apps
- Lack of per website security (All apps run in the same address space)
- No access to hardware (relates to security)
- No offline support.
When Apple released an SDK it was an admission of defeat. Chris Messina put it beautifully in his blog post Did the web fail the iphone?. With millions of developers and amazing momentum the web has too much to offer for it to not be premium application development platform. So in that sense the browser was not the premium peice, the platform was.
When Google released Chrome, each one of those questions seem to find an answer.
- Hard to write stateful apps/ no offline support: Chrome includes Gears.
- Lack of per website security: Each tab in chrome runs in a seperate process, which also means this process can be given special permissions based on its security certificate! So your bank application can finally update to your harddisk and your passbook can be available offline! Wheee
- No access to hardware: Again comes down to security, read above
All in all the chrome platform is of great signifcance, i think its real competitors are j2me/java/cocoa/wpf and not the browsers. Only time will tell if the web as a real platform will materialize.