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Feature: [video] Google’s “Chrome” and Mozilla’s “Ubiquity” – Changing the Way We Web

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Mozilla and Google are trying to change the way we browse the web. Google with the release of a new web browser called “Chrome”, and Mozilla Labs with mind-blowing projects like “Ubiquity.” Google’s “Chrome” browser is being released today, and the far more impressive “Ubiquity” has been available only as a prototype.

Browsers like Apple’s Safari and Mozilla’s Firefox are the way we access the internet. Without a web browser, websites are simply piles of code and images. But web browsers as we currently know and love them, while utilizing the great services available, still make it hard for the everyday user to experience, and for developers to create, a seamless browsing experience. Google, with “Chrome“, and Mozilla with “Ubiquity” are both hoping to change this.

So why are we launching Google Chrome? Because we believe we can add value for users and, at the same time, help drive innovation on the web.

On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple. To most people, it isn’t the browser that matters. It’s only a tool to run the important stuff — the pages, sites and applications that make up the web. Like the classic Google homepage, Google Chrome is clean and fast. It gets out of your way and gets you where you want to go.

Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today’s complex web applications much better. By keeping each tab in an isolated “sandbox”, we were able to prevent one tab from crashing another and provide improved protection from rogue sites. We improved speed and responsiveness across the board. We also built a more powerful JavaScript engine, V8, to power the next generation of web applications that aren’t even possible in today’s browsers.

The web gets better with more options and innovation. Google Chrome is another option, and we hope it contributes to making the web even better.

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Chrome will be using Webkit, the same open-source rendering engine that loads your web pages in Apple’s Safari. Contrary to Webkit, Firefox uses the rendering engine Gecko (A video of Mozilla’s Firefox 3 rendering a webpage can be found here).

So what does this mean for the future of the web? All of the major technology players have been making a big push towards cloud computing, web-based applications and service as a software.

Major players in the game include Apple with Mobile Me, Google with all of their offerings, Microsoft, Amazon, and then all of the e-mail clients.

But Google’s offerings haven’t always been the best. Google Docs is a great service, and the entire Google Apps suite is phenomenal. It gives small businesses, as well as large corporations and organizations the ability to manage data and work together over the internet. But they are not industry dominating like Gmail. As far as a team-collaboration suite, 37 signals’ BaseCamp demolishes what Google has to offer in that space. Blogger is Google’s blog publishing platform, and while great, many would argue that Wordpress — with the depth of its community, and rich, robust plugin directory — makes Blogger look like its fledgling little brother.

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The question is, Will Chrome really change the way we browse? Or will it be another so-so addition to Google’s already huge plethora of offerings. Google will be releasing the first version of Chrome for Windows users, with Mac and Linux versions following.



Mozilla’s Contribution

In case you haven’t heard of Mozilla Labs, it’s where Mozilla conceptualizes about the future of the web. Through collaboration with other media professionals and in-house prototype development, Mozilla is utilizing everything the web has to offer while trying to create a seamless, ubiquitous way of browsing.

The overall goals of Ubiquity are to explore how best to:

• Empower users to control the web browser with language-based instructions. (With search, users type what they want to find. With Ubiquity, they type what they want to do.)

• Enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. (In other words, allowing everyone–not just Web developers–to remix the Web so it fits their needs, no matter what page they are on, or what they are doing.)

• Use Trust networks and social constructs to balance security with ease of extensibility.

• Extend the browser functionality easily.

The below video is straight from Mozilla’s Ubiquity homepage. If you have 6 minutes, I would highly recommend watching it. Aza Raskin from Mozilla points out extremely valid points, that could change the way we browse the web, and utilize web services, forever. A lot of people are talking about Web 3.0, and a semantic web with endless possibilities. Currently however, a user cannot access any information available on the internet unless it has been inputted/programmed at one time or another. No other company is approaching how to solve these vexing issues, and bridge the information online as intuitively as Mozilla.


So what do both Chrome and Ubiquity have in common? Google and Mozilla both play an absolutely enormous role in how we as users will experience the internet in the future. Google’s dominating market share in search, and Mozilla with what Walt Mossberg calls the “best browser around,” (Firefox 3) are both set up to hand-carve the future of the web as we know it.

Though we don’t exactly know how serious Google is going to get with Chrome, we can only hope it gets the attention it deserves. If Google can leverage its market share while introducing a new standards compliant web browser, web developers and end users may forever benefit from such robust environments. Microsoft’s truly archaic Internet Explorer may finally be able to retire for good, and the web may turn into the open, compliant, rich, robust platform that we need. Both Google and Mozilla are heavily focused on perfecting the user experience, while effectively communicating, and navigating through the mass amounts of data available online today.

The results we can expect to see and experience are truly exciting, and there couldn’t be two more perfect companies to take on the web’s challenges ahead.


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