back to article Chrome turns five, gains new 'desktop apps'

Google's Chrome browser has turned five, and the Chocolate Factory has given it and us the mutant offspring of site-specific browsers as a present. Chrome's 2008 launch was marked by the publication of a comic book penned by comics deconstructor extraordinaire Scott McCloud. At the time of launch world+dog was fascinated by …


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  1. Greg J Preece

    The way I see the progression, Mozzy restarted the browser wars, aiming for useful and easy-to-extend functionality that was missing from the market leader, and forcing the rendering engines to advance along open standards.

    Chrome then came along and started a whole new war, based almost entirely around two things: speed, and bleeding-edge support. If nothing else, Chrome made Firefox, IE and every other browser faster. It's not my browser of choice, but you can't deny its impact. Happy birthday, Chrome. You're a buggy little sod, and in your pure Google form I think you're actually rather evil, but I suppose you did some good too. :-p

    1. poopypants

      It's only evil if you care

      and frankly I don't care that there exists somewhere a database entry, unread by human eyes, that says I like watching cat videos and reading The Register. It means that any ads that manage to sneak through AdBlock are cat related, which is nice, or about predatory birds, which is puzzling.

      1. Velv Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: It's only evil if you care

        "Predatory birds" - is that a euphemism, because my "cat" related ads all seem to be about Cougars

    2. ThomH Silver badge

      I'm not sure. I think Chrome is a product of trends rather than a producer of them.

      In my opinion the development of browsers has been directed by the web's move from the desktop to phones and tablets. That has tightened optimisation requirements and, because there's still a healthy competitive market in mobile, has made everyone much keener to ensure that nobody else has de facto control over the standards.

      WebKit alone is possibly the more interesting story. It was always about standards compliance, being first to pass Acid2, and has been a frontrunner on performance. Although it's most often associated with Apple it was powering the Symbian browser as early as 2005 and Google started committing more than Apple in 2010. So it's a pretty good indicator of where the major mobile players of the last few years think priorities lie.

      From there Chrome is a gateway and an irony. It makes desktop browsing thoroughly up to date so as to make desktop browsing less relevant.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        > Although it's most often associated with Apple it was powering the Symbian browser as early as 2005

        Webkit started as a fork of KHTML which started in 1998 as KDE's HTML layout engine.

        1. John 62

          Very true. Chrome's internals have their roots in KDE (via Apple's Safari) but Chrome's look and feel is eerily similar to how I set up my Opera UI, which is strange that Chrome seemed to copy it, because I'd never seen anyone else set their Opera up like me, and Opera kept adding UI bloat every release that I had to remove.

          Sadly Opera was displaced in my usage because it became very crashy, and Chrome was just good enough even without gestures and the ability to disable animation on a per-domain basis.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It started out well...

    But lately it has turned into a pervasive means for google to lob ads at everyone. The thing is bundled with every imaginable piece of software (even Java these days) and the default setting is 'install'.

    And Google can try and convince me of their honorable intentions, but after countless incidents of snooping, rifling through peoples mailboxes, and statements by their crypto-fascist leader Schmitt I simply don't trust them anymore,

    1. Big_Ted

      Re: It started out well...

      Your complaining that a company that makes almost all its money from adverts gives out free of charge a browser that is updated more often than othersis used by that company to target ads at you the user ?

      What did you expect ?

      An where will you go otherwise ? who out there has stated that no-one, not even the NSA looks at your data/browsing etc etc.....

      If you don't want others seeing wat you do then turn off the computer and bury your head under the bed clothes........

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Finally, but maybe not

    I've been after a feature similar to this for years and have been using a mixture of Prism on linux (however it's horribly out of date doesn't work with flash) and fluid on OS X, but while they've added the features to chrome OS X is 'coming soon', so probably never like their previous create application shortcuts were and still are coming soon...

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Finally, but maybe not

      Check out Peppermint OS - they started off with Prism but went on to provide this feature via Chromium:

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Efros

    TV ads

    Chrome is now being advertised on TV in the US.

  6. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    no mean feat when one considers Internet Explorer is installed on just about every PC sold and Chrome is nearly always a discretionary download.

    No mean feat when one considers that the two leading versions of Windows have different browsers, so split the numbers and fall below Chrome in the charts - and Chrome is nearly always downloaded without your permission when you get something else online...

    Or is that an overly harsh interpretation?

    Certainly when I've helped friends with their PCs I've been amazed how many have Chrome installed. Often these are people who I couldn't persuade to dump IE for Firefox 5 years ago - it's hard enough just getting some people to understand that you're running software to run the internet, not just having it turn up on screen due to magic computer fairies. But now they have Chrome, so have they had a moment of enlightenment and started thinking about the software they use? Nope. They're just not paranoid enough about unticking boxes when downloading stuff - and basically got infected with, it like malware. Then you find the McAfee security scan software on there too, that got on the same way.

    Not that I'm saying Chrome is malware. It's a perfectly fine browser. I dabble with it and IE, but I got used to Firefox, too lazy to move, and prefer the 'old fashioned' look. I like all the separate menus across the top. It's funny how loads of people complain about the Office ribbon, but no-one seems to mind losing all the nice buttons at the top of their browser and having to access all controls through one big menu.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      I find they get Chrome because they get the thing, and they select "Google" as their internet.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      weird. I've never encountered it being downloaded with anything else. Fucking Adobe trys to infect my machine with Macfee every few weeks, but I've never seen anything try to give me chrome. Mind you, its pretty rare that I install new software off the interwebs, its normally just patches for things.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Half hearted anonymous Google shill!!!

      2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        weird. I've never encountered it being downloaded with anything else. Fucking Adobe trys to infect my machine with Macfee every few weeks, but I've never seen anything try to give me chrome.

        Dear Mr Anonymouse,

        I've seen Chrome try to download itself with Java. It did with all new installs and updates - but that was about the time I started removing Java from PCs rather than installing it. Also I'm pretty sure it was an option on there last time I downloaded OpenOffice, I don't recall if the same was true of Libre Office though. Also Picassa and various other Google bits'n'bobs offer it by default.

        I've seen quite a few PCs with both Safari and Chrome on even though the user had neither heard of, nor given permission to have them installed. Apple were obviously using iTunes as their trojan horse (which they've thankfully stopped), and Google a few more vectors. A few years ago, everyone gave you the Yahoo toolbar, if you weren't looking too closely, now it's Chrome.

  7. sabroni Silver badge

    Chrome is nearly always a discretionary download.

    is it fuck.

  8. Richard Wharram

    Desktop Apps

    Like Peppermint OS has been offering for three years?

  9. Thomas_Kent
    Big Brother

    if one doesn't like Chrome, one could use Iron instead:

  10. IGnatius T Foobar

    Netscape won the browser war

    Yes, you read that correctly: Netscape won the browser war. It died in battle, but it won.

    The browser war was never about who had the biggest market share in web browsers. It was about web applications vs. locally installed desktop applications. When Netscape announced a vision of everything running on the web instead of directly on a PC, Microsoft took that as a serious threat. Look around today and it's clear that web applications have not only won, but totally obliterated old style applications with installers and dependencies on a single operating system.

    Today the only competition is over who can deliver web apps that have the best seamless integration. Google is looking to remove those last couple of barriers to everything being delivered this way.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge

      Re: Netscape won the browser war

      Quite right, old chap! Why, looking at my work PCs, I can't say that I have more than a few dozen discrete applications installed on each of them, and a few dozen more besides on my home system. What's 100+ applications installed across three PCs between friends? Everything is Web apps! Everything!

    2. Magnus Ramage

      Re: Netscape won the browser war

      Ironically, one of the best proofs of that is Evernote. Their Windows and their Android clients are both updated frequently, for reasons good and bad. On Android the install whizzes through (after a single approval), mostly happening in the background. On Windows it's a constant cycle of approvals, dialogue boxes and progress bars. Not sure whether it takes longer, but it certainly feels that way. The irony is because you'd expect a cloud-centric service like Evernote to work as a web-based app; instead under Windows it feels just the same as it would have a decade earlier, only updating more often. I've now uninstalled Evernote from my PC and only use their web interface or the Android version.

  11. Cheekygeek
    Thumb Up

    You beat me to it.

    My thoughts exactly.

  12. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge

    How Secure Is It?

    It has also proven rather more secure than its rivals, welcome news for all netizens.

    Lost me with this one. It can be installed under a non-admin account on Windows and does not follow the same standards for file locations, et cetera. Because of this, it is a pain for system admins. It is growing like a weed for market share while acting like one on local systems. I dread how this implementation of applications will act on an enterprise network.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    user choice

    My belief is that word went round that browsing the web was faster using firefox or chrome. The root cause being that ie was probably malware infected or just slow, but users just want/ed a quick fix. They learnt that they have a choice, at least that's what I've picked up on.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Firefox failed me

    Literally the only reason I and most everyone I know who switched to chrome did so, was because Firefox was SUCH a memory hog. They CONSTANTLY blamed it on third party extensions instead of trying to address the problem. If the problem was third party extensions (which is wasn't, because every release I would try with 0 extensions loaded and still find the memory leak over time) - they should've done something to address it. Instead, they blamed users, blamed extensions, blamed everything else. As a result, users were more than happy to flee them when a viable alternative presented itself.

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