Google Chrome shines

New browser from Google rethinks how browsers should work in a Web 2.0 world but also borrows from its competition.

Google has released the beta version of a new browser, Chrome. In its comic-book pre-announcement, Google stated correctly that watching videos, chatting, and even playing Web-based games didn't exist when browsers were first invented. For the user, Google wants the browser to disappear and to focus on the applications and pages users are viewing, rather than on the border with its tools, and such. Google has rethought the Internet browser--some of its basic underpinnings are quite novel--but users will recognize some features as they exist in other, open-source browsers on the market today.

At the moment, only the Windows version of Chrome is available for download. Plans call for Mac OS X and Linux versions in the near future. That said, Google has released Chrome in 43 languages and in 122 countries.

Chrome is based on the open-source project Webkit, the same rendering engine used by Apple Safari. If a page renders in Safari, it will render in Chrome. Webkit is also the basis for Android, Google's mobile platform, so it seems that Google is planning to use Chrome in mobile environments.

For more details, see the Chrome First Take on CNET.

The interface in Chrome is very different from other browsers and takes a little getting used to. Instead of the traditional Netscape/IE-style toolbar across the top, Chrome uses tabs. Moreover, the tabs are detachable, so the terms "tabs" and "windows" become interchangeable within Chrome. Detached tabs can be dragged and dropped into the browser, and tabs can be rearranged at any time.

(Credit: Robert Vamosi / CNET)

Click here for full coverage of the Google Chrome launch.

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