Google Blogoscoped has published a lengthly cartoon sent to them by Google and drawn by Scott McCloud that provides the first public details about Google Chrome, an open source browser based on WebKit and powered by Google Gears that has been rumored but never before confirmed.
According to the cartoon (which can be seen in its entirely here – thanks Marshall), the Google Chrome project has already undergone a substantial period of development with engineers working to create a product that’s secure, user friendly, fast, stable, safe, and easily testable. No word yet, however, on when it will be released.
This is a straight shot over the bow of Microsoft, which has tightly integrated its Live Search offering into its dominant Internet Explorer browser (and which, surprise, is in turn tightly integrated into Windows). It also makes for an awkward relationship with Mozilla, whose Firefox browser Google basically funds.
A starting page not unlike Opera’s own Speed Dial page gives quick access to your most frequently visited sites and search engines, as well as your recent bookmarks and page visits.
Google Chrome will also let you open a so-called “Incognito” window that doesn’t record anything you do there (a similar feature to the one introduced by Internet Explorer 8 that has been dubbed “porn mode”).
To keep annoyances to a minimum, pages won’t be allowed to pop up new windows outside of their original tabs.
Windows can also be opened without an address bar and other superfluous buttons, allowing certain web applications to appear as though they don’t depend on a browser.
Security, Sandboxing, and Safe Browsing
Google Chrome is being developed with the assumption that you will encounter malware online. Each tab is contained within its own sandbox that stops malicious behavior.
Google will also continually download a list of phishing sites and list of malware sites to your computer, which will be used to warn you when you visit them. Site owners will be notified when their sites are put on either of the lists so false positives can be remedied.