Stick a candle on it: Chrome turns 5

Not long after Google delivered its Chrome browser to an unsuspecting world, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer downplayed the significance.

"Open source is interesting," he said at a Microsoft conference in Australia, describing WebKit, the rendering engine that Chrome was founded on.

It turned out to be a lot more than merely "interesting." Google celebrates Chrome's five-year anniversary this week, while Ballmer just announced that he will be departing the hot seat at Microsoft within a year.

"After the first couple of weeks, people were writing us off as dead," said Erik Kay, … Read more

Blink-WebKit split endangers some browser features

CSS Variables, a handy technology to ease Web page programming, could be one casualty in Safari with Google moving its resources to its browser engine, Blink.

Google engineers wanted to "fork" the WebKit browser engine project that underlies both Safari and Chrome so they could accelerate the pace of Chrome development and adopt changes too extensive to fit into a single open-source project. Even though splitting Blink away from WebKit may make each browser engine more nimble, it also means it's harder to cooperate.

That's because common features must be developed and maintained by duplicate teams … Read more

WebKit fracture puts a pinch on open-source browser efforts

The WebKit browser engine is becoming a less flexible foundation for open-source projects with the departure of Google from the project this week and Apple's consequent paring back of the project.

WebKit is a broad project that includes participation from many interested parties -- not just Apple and Google, but also BlackBerry, Samsung, Amazon, Oracle, Adobe Systems, and the programmers involved with the KDE and Gnome user interfaces for Linux. Indeed, the open-source project began as KDE's KHTML engine for the Konqueror browser before Apple got involved.

Google's Chrome team left WebKit this week, forking the open-source … Read more

Blink, Google's new Chrome browser engine, comes to life

Blink, Google's new fork of the WebKit browser engine, is alive.

Yesterday, Google announced the project, which splits its browser work from Apple's in the open-source WebKit project. Today, Blink is up and running.

The first updates -- including a new list of 36 Blink "owners" who have authority to approve changes -- are arriving.

"Chrome 28 will be the first blinking release," Chrome programmer Mike West said in a Hacker News comment. The current stable version of Chrome is version 26; new versions arrive about every six weeks.

"The repository seems to … Read more

Googlers exultant over launch of Blink browser engine

Today, Google launched Blink, its fork of the WebKit browser engine, and members of Google's Chrome team clearly are excited about their liberation.

With the fork, Google will concentrate its core browser development efforts on Blink, which will gradually diverge from the WebKit project on which it's based. You can read more about the context and history leading to Blink in CNET's coverage, or read the official Blink blog post and Blink FAQ for the party line.

But to get a feel for the emotion involved, check the commentary from the Chrome team members themselves. They're … Read more

Google parts ways with Apple over WebKit, launches Blink

A years-long marriage of convenience that linked Google and Apple browser technologies is ending in divorce.

In a move that Google says will technologically liberate both Chrome and Safari, the company has begun its own offshoot of the WebKit browser engine project called Blink. Initially it uses the same software code base that all WebKit-based browsers share, but over time it will diverge into a totally separate project, Google announced today.

The move marks the end of years of direct WebKit programming cooperation between the two rivals. WebKit is an open-source project, meaning that anyone can use and modify the … Read more

Apple issues Safari update for Snow Leopard

In the latest set of security updates for OS X, Apple has included a new version of Safari for users still running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. The last official release of Safari for Snow Leopard was version 5.1.7, which addressed several bugs in the WebKit framework that could allow maliciously crafted Web sites to execute code locally on a system. Since then there had been no updates for Safari 5; however, if you are using Snow Leopard and have installed the latest update you will see Safari is now at version 5.1.8.

As noted … Read more

Opera's overhauled Android browser now in beta

The first results of Opera's WebKit brain transplant are now available for people to try: a beta version of Opera for Android.

The new version uses Android-native user-interface elements but preserves many Opera features such as Speed Dial. It gets some new features, too, such as Off-road Mode to enable a proxy-browsing technology designed for slow network connections and the Discovery tool for people who want to browse content tailored to their interests.

The Oslo, Norway-based company announced in February that it's scrapped its own Presto engine, except in its TV browser product line, in favor of the … Read more

Opera overhaul: WebKit-based Android browser due Q2

BARCELONA, Spain--Opera Software has dropped the new engine into its browser and now has begun revving it up.

At the Mobile World Congress show here, the company began showing for the first time its new WebKit-based version of Opera for Android. That browser is the first product from a completely overhauled product line and technology strategy for the company based in Oslo, Norway.

Opera is changing the browser engine at the core of its software, dumping its own Presto for the open-source WebKit used in Chrome and Safari. It's a radical change in many ways: many engineers are changing … Read more

Opera cuts staff in WebKit-related restructuring

Retooling its browser with the WebKit engine isn't the only big change at Opera Software. The Norwegian company also cut its staff significantly in the last quarter of 2012.

According to the company's fourth-quarter financial results (PDF), the company had 777 employees at the end of 2011 and 931 at the end of 2012. But that figure includes 91 "employees associated with the organizational restructuring."

Moving to WebKit and dropping its in-house Presto browser engine. means Opera is cooperating with Google, Apple, and others using the open-source WebKit software, and that means the company could get … Read more