This week Google released their new browser, Chrome
. There has been so much buzz
about it that it's been deafening. It is seriously amazing how passionate people get about a browser. But let's face it, a browser is likely what most people use more than any other software
on their computer now days. I spend so much of my time online. Performance is important to me, just like anyone else. Since Chrome's release, I've spent some time reading performance metrics in an attempt to see past the marketing hype, and I've been pleased with what I've found. Not specifically with Chrome, but with the improvements across the board with many, but certainly not all, browsers.
First off, let me get this out of the way. I've used Chrome, but I am not sold on it at all. It lacks many features I find critical, or at least useful, in a browser. I am not a GOOG-fanboy and I typically don't care for many things that Google puts out, aside from search. I'm not on that "anything that Google does is gold" bus. I do, however, love Firefox. It is my browser of choice for many reasons, but mainly because it performs well and I love the extensibility of it with addons (not to mention the huge community around addons out there, you can find about anything to make the browser work the way you want it to)
This all started when a consultant I work with sent me an e-mail discussing how a particular web-based CRM application
that I work with performs so much faster using Safari. This consultant would demo this software to clients using Internet Explorer and the demos would never go too well. Everything would appear a bit slow and sluggish. This particular web-based CRM application is a bit heavy on the client, using Ajax for about anything that happens in the browser. One day he decided to test out some other browsers and was amazed at how much faster this application performed using Safari. When he let me know his findings I ran some tests between various browsers with this CRM application and was astounded by the results. The performance of the application with Safari was a clear and noticeable improvement over other browsers I tested with. I was amazed at how drastic the performance improvement was. It was an obvious improvement, even without sophisticated tests, as an end user you could easily see the difference.
This eventually led me to a new post today by jQuery rock-star John Resig
Chart from John's rundown - I'd highly recommend reading John's post (link below).
While Chrome is based on WebKit
, which is also open-source. John's test show some big performance "oohs" and "aahs" for Chrome, which is very nice. However, and this is my Firefox bias showing, that V8 will only lead the game until Firefox 3.1's TraceMonkey hits the streets.
Another set of tests from Lifehacker
Overall, I think it is overwhelmingly great that performance
, for my most utilized application, has become such a important metric across the board for all browsers. While I am not too thrilled about yet another browser in the game, and my initial reaction as a web developer was "oh no, another browser to support", the idea of Chrome raising the game for everyone is completely welcome. I won't be switching to Chrome. I don't think I ever will. However, I am sure to see the effects by some new competition in the war of the almighty browser. The best thing about it, the competition is all focused on performance, and that is good for everyone.