Join 3,554 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Google Chrome
September 1, 2008 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Google Chrome Google, faced with concerns over Microsoft using it's browser marketshare to marginalize the search engine, have decided to take the fight directly to them. Google Chrome is an open sourced browser based on the Webkit HTML engine, but adds a new Javascript engine, and some UI changes. To advertise it, they've enlisted Scott McCloud to make a comic showing the browser's features. The release date is Wednesday, but watch this space.
posted by zabuni (301 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's a CoralCache link because the site is getting slashdotted right now.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:47 PM on September 1, 2008


My favorite thing about Firefox is surfing with Adblock and NoScript turned on. Since Google is an advertising company, I'm thinking that they'd never put up with features like that.
posted by popechunk at 1:53 PM on September 1, 2008


using it's browser marketshare to marginalize the search engine

Or maybe Microsoft are using their browser marketshare to give more people the option of hiding from the unwelcome, prying eyes of Google and saving me from being profiled for adwords and who knows what else.
posted by three blind mice at 1:54 PM on September 1, 2008


Ah, I was wondering when this information would finally become public.

I can't wait to see if there UI is any good or not.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:55 PM on September 1, 2008


I think it's interesting that Scott McCloud's personal website says "This site is quiet at the moment while I finish a secret project..." I'd make a wild guess that this was it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:56 PM on September 1, 2008


"Microsoft using its browser market share to marginalize the search engine"? That's rather an odd way to describe "pr0n mode", particularly when the software described in Google'e comic has exactly the same capability.
posted by Slothrup at 1:56 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Somehow this looks like a Jack Chick tract. I keep expecting to be required to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour before I can use this as my browser.
posted by vernondalhart at 2:00 PM on September 1, 2008 [18 favorites]


It's "its".
posted by LordSludge at 2:02 PM on September 1, 2008 [13 favorites]


While I look forward to a faster javascript engine, which is desperately needed, I hope that google's basic functions like search and news don't come to rely on it altogether. There was a period when you couldn't use google news with javascript disabled if your user-agent was one that they knew had javascript. They appear to have fixed this.

Getting off topic a little but what I'd like to see is a browser extension that allows you to customize the user-agent that sites see on a site-by-site basis. If they think you're running lynx maybe they'll serve you a page that works without javascript, because you certainly don't need it for search results and news, they only implement it for click-tracking.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:06 PM on September 1, 2008


Simon says: beep bop beep beep boop boop bop.
posted by chillmost at 2:16 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


My favorite thing about Firefox is surfing with Adblock and NoScript turned on. Since Google is an advertising company, I'm thinking that they'd never put up with features like that.

This sums up why I use Firefox. (Well, the Adblock part — I haven't felt a need for NoScript yet.) I only see ads on the rare occasion that a site I visit routinely makes a change to its adservers, or when I'm looking at an overseas-based site that I'm not going to visit often enough to bother blocking the ads.

Whenever I use a public computer, or borrow a friend's, I'm amazed at how ad-filled the regular internet experience is.

The point being, other browsers, including one from Google, will become contenders for me the minute they make it equally easy and convenient to block ads. Until or unless they do that, I'll put up with all of Firefox's imperfections and enjoy having my internet browsing subsidized by all the ad-viewers out there.
posted by Forktine at 2:24 PM on September 1, 2008 [12 favorites]


Seconding popechunk. Google's behavior with StreetView, in particular, leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and they're quite instrusive enough that I don't feel inclined to let them run a browser.
posted by rodgerd at 2:27 PM on September 1, 2008


Looks good to me.
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on September 1, 2008


Has anyone seen anything indicating what platforms this browser will run on?
posted by popechunk at 2:33 PM on September 1, 2008


three blind mice:
"prying eyes of Google and saving me from being profiled for adwords and who knows what else"

Microsoft is also spying on you and using your user info/search history as a means of making money off you, and have done for more than a decade.
posted by batmonkey at 2:34 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I tried to read the super-seekrit Scott McCloud comic. I found it incredibly boring, and I'm a big fan of Reinventing Comics. Then again, for the folks who don't know about OOP, memory management etc. it might be pretty cool.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:35 PM on September 1, 2008


Another thing I wonder is if some open source developers could take the code and bolt on some kind of extension system? Would Google continue to open source the browser if some clever guys and gals figured out how to release a patch/branch for it that blocked AdWords?
posted by popechunk at 2:36 PM on September 1, 2008


> Or maybe Microsoft are using their browser marketshare to give more people the option of hiding from the unwelcome, prying eyes of Google and saving me from being profiled for adwords and who knows what else.

Oh yeah, fer sherr, Microsoft is all about giving shareholders people options. Stock options.
posted by Artful Codger at 2:41 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


They don't have a choice. If it's open source, it's open source.
posted by empath at 2:41 PM on September 1, 2008


I just read through the entire McCloud comic. Parts of it sounded like a pretty ok browser (assuming that there were to be a way to add adblocking to it), but they kept emphasizing (cf pp 19 & 21) how the browser was going to remember my history and suggest search terms for me and so on, which is the absolute last thing I want my browser to do for me. I want it to be "dumb" — to follow my instructions.

Whenever I've encountered one of these predictive devices, they end up really infuriating me, and forcing me to spend time either figuring out how to turn it off, or to alter what I am doing in order to produce the predictive results I really need.

My hope is that the underlying engineering of this browser is as good as they say it will be, and that either the best parts get borrowed by Firefox, or the google browser interface turns out to be less intrusive than they say it will be.
posted by Forktine at 2:42 PM on September 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


I tried to read the super-seekrit Scott McCloud comic. I found it incredibly boring, and I'm a big fan of Reinventing Comics.

I'm just finding it tough to read with the long vertical panels, inappropriately borderless panels, and occasionally confusing layouts. You'd think McCloud would know better, wtf?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:43 PM on September 1, 2008


They don't have a choice. If it's open source, it's open source.

What license are they using? Publishing the source code to something is not the same thing as releasing it under a license that prevents you from ever forking it closed source some day.
posted by popechunk at 2:44 PM on September 1, 2008


"Microsoft using its browser market share to marginalize the search engine"? That's rather an odd way to describe "pr0n mode", particularly when the software described in Google'e comic has exactly the same capability.

I would guess this refers to Live Search being the default search in IE7 & 8.
posted by !Jim at 2:47 PM on September 1, 2008


Forktine, couldn't you just browse in their incognito mode indefinitely?
posted by andythebean at 2:47 PM on September 1, 2008


If they ever pry NoScript - or its equal - out of my browser, then I will quit the Internet.

My business partner insisted he never needed NoScript, he thought it was too annoying to have to enable scripts on new sites he was visiting. I got tired of giving him grief about it, so I figured he would learn the hard way. But I made triple sure our network machines were safe.

He got hit with a drive-by script by following a link on a legit web site. He wrestled with the results for a couple of days. He wound up having to format his HD. Fortunately he had backup data, but he lost a couple of days of work and didn't sleep well for an entire week, literally.

Looks like Google is counterattacking Microsoft. I have a skeptical trust of Google, but I am keenly averse to using a browser product made by a company whose business is tracking users and delivering advertising.
posted by Xoebe at 2:48 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have a skeptical trust of Google, but I am keenly averse to using a browser product made by a company whose business is tracking users and delivering advertising.

Since it's open source, any subterfuge would be detected rather quickly (hell, to detect most dirty tricks you don't even need open source, just a network sniffer or decent firewall), and it would be perfectly proper for someone to turn around and redistribute a version that didn't have the unwanted characteristics. This seems like a pretty big win, really.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:53 PM on September 1, 2008


Microsoft is also spying on you and using your user info/search history as a means of making money off you, and have done for more than a decade.

And? What does this have to do with Google?
posted by three blind mice at 2:55 PM on September 1, 2008


Forktine, couldn't you just browse in their incognito mode indefinitely?

Probably. But I assume it'd be like Safari, where if you want to browse in the Porn Private Browsing setting you have an extra step each time you open it. Ideally, it'd be a setting in the browser preferences that you change once, rather than each time.

Anyway, I realize that I'm out of step with the majority of users on this — most people are happy seeing the ads, happy to have their browser suggest search terms and places to visit. I am just hoping that those things will have easy work-arounds for the minority of people like myself.
posted by Forktine at 2:56 PM on September 1, 2008


I think it looks pretty cool. I'm looking forward to trying it out. Any word on when we'll be able to download a copy?
posted by sveskemus at 3:03 PM on September 1, 2008


!Jim,

What they're referring to is the "private" mode in IE8 that blocks search providers like Google and Yahoo from placing and reading cookies to determine your browsing habits, interests, et-cetera, and then serving relevant ads alongside search results. (And, yes...I'm sure it would be foolish to think that MS LiveSearch wouldn't be the default search provider on a Microsoft browser.) The question remains to be seen - is LiveSearch automatically immune to this "privacy" restriction? Hmmmm.
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 3:07 PM on September 1, 2008


I like their approach to this, and their POV seems to be from a usability standpoint rather than an engineering standpoint. I'll give it a shot when it comes out.
posted by Eekacat at 3:09 PM on September 1, 2008


Another thing I wonder is if some open source developers could take the code and bolt on some kind of extension system? Would Google continue to open source the browser if some clever guys and gals figured out how to release a patch/branch for it that blocked AdWords?

If it's open source in the sense that there's an about:config page, then there's theoretically no limit to what sort of extensions you could add to it. Using existing parameters, there's even a way to make Opera support an Adblock function. Being able to change the parameters to suit you makes it completely your own. I look forward to opening this thing up and playing around with what's under the hood, and you can believe there are plenty of people with more technical skill then myself - the kind of people who build extensions for fun - who'll be all over this once it's out.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:11 PM on September 1, 2008


It looks like they're written a whole new Unix-like operating system on-top of Windows, and called it a web-browser. That is a bold strike against Microsoft.
posted by mr. strange at 3:17 PM on September 1, 2008


Wouldn't it be great, then, to not have to click "next" 38 fucking times?
posted by wastelands at 3:23 PM on September 1, 2008 [4 favorites]


The historical background of this is much more interesting than this just being Another Web Browser, or about you not wanting to see ads.

Microsoft eliminated Netscape back in the late 90s because Netscape was attempting to make the web browser into an operating system, threatening to unseat Microsoft's desktop monopoly. For the same reason, Microsoft destroyed Sun Microsystems as a serious write-once, deploy-anywhere desktop application competitor, with its broken replacement of Java.

MS came very close to integrating their web platform with the Windows desktop operating system, making some weird hybrid that would have further sealed their control over the user space, but they ran into two brick walls: the Department of Justice, and infighting between the Internet Explorer, Office, and Windows development teams.

Turning a web browser into an OS is more or less what Google is attempting here. Google wants Google Chrome and its JavaScript VM to turn Microsoft, Apple and Linux into "appliance platforms", giving Google control or at least first dibs over the web application space, where they will have greater user eyeball numbers and can accordingly multiply their advertising revenues.

Now that Microsoft no longer has to worry about pesky interference from the DoJ, they can focus energies on trying to break Google's attempt to usurp Microsoft's desktop OS dominance. But Microsoft also has Apple's rising Mac OS X and iPhone OS X shares to contend with.

It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:36 PM on September 1, 2008 [13 favorites]


Wouldn't it be great, then, to not have to click "next" 38 fucking times?

If you'd got the comic book in the mail, you'd have had to physically open the envelope and turn the page a good 19 times. Life really is an intolerable hell, isn't it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:36 PM on September 1, 2008 [14 favorites]


It's not just the browser though, it's native integration of features like Gears, et al, allowing Google to create web apps that work identically online and offline through their own browser.

Turning a web browser into an OS is more or less what Google is attempting here.

I'd call it an application development platform but whether that's different from an OS could be considered a matter of semantics I suppose.
posted by GuyZero at 3:41 PM on September 1, 2008


Wouldn't it be great, then, to not have to click "next" 38 fucking times?

A PDF version was posted on another site, but it's not mine and I don't know how long it'll stay up
posted by HaloMan at 3:45 PM on September 1, 2008


I'd call it an application development platform but whether that's different from an OS could be considered a matter of semantics I suppose.

You're correct, strictly speaking. I guess it could be called an operating system in the sense of what an end user would consider an OS; namely, something on which applications are run (in this case, "web" or networked applications). For developers, it is a development platform.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:47 PM on September 1, 2008


I read the comic, just waiting to find that one "feature" or technology that would lock you into a Google service or that would let Google collect even more of your private information. I found none*. Since both the browser and Google Gears are open source, any attemps to call home, etc, will be brought to light pretty quickly.

This browser seems like a pure, no-strings-attached contribution to the internet. For that, I heartily applaud the company.

The only downside I can see is that they will take away some relevance from Firefox. But hey, let the best browser win. Also, whether or not they'll keep providing 85% of Mozilla's revenue is locked in for the next 3 years, but what if Chrome catches on?

*The suggestions in the omnibox might collect information. I'll wait for more info.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 3:48 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Google is evil. Just subtle about it, for now.

One day Larry Page and Sergey Brin are going to get up on stage at a shareholder's meeting and rip off their disguises, revealing that they have handlebar mustaches, are space reptiles, and also are hostile robots from the future. They shall proclaim that you sure have a nice internet and it would be a shame if anything happened to it, and that their internal name for "Gmail" is actually "Blackmail Database."

By the way, you know how Firefox has that search box in the upper right? And it defaults to Google, as does the search box on the default Firefox home page if I remember right?

Google slipped Firefox fifty million.

I was also amused that the proposed solution to memory leaks isn't proper programming, it's killing processes at every opportunity.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:50 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


This story has a lot of characters. I'm having trouble keeping up.
posted by rlk at 3:56 PM on September 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Next you'll be suggesting that Reptile Larry and Reptile Sergey bribed Mozilla to make Firefox 3 a bloated memory hog whenever you run it for more than a few hours, just so that they could boast about how Chrome doesn't do that. And thus they could harvest more souls, and serve ads back to the hollow, once-human flesh-bags that remained.
posted by flashboy at 4:02 PM on September 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Google slipped Firefox fifty million.

Oh NOES!!!1!

Firefox needed a default search provider. They could have picked Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft (smaller companies wouldn't have the same quality of results and some people would have blamed Firefox for that). What, exactly, would you have had Mozilla do?

Have we actually suffered because Google is the default provider? Users can still choose the provider they want if they don't like it.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 4:03 PM on September 1, 2008


They lost me right here.

Aside from the basic horribleness of the notion of spawning processes instead of threads (why did we invent threads in the first place, kids?) , there are a number of other issues. For one, if they *have* screwed up their "security", this now means that any web "application" out there can now spawn a PROCESS on my machine, that will not be killed when I kill the browser process. YAY. This is true even if they don't screw up their security, but the writer of the "application" screws up their loop end condition somewhere.

They are right, though. Adopting this model of using processes instead of threads means that one rogue "application" won't ruin the rest of my browser experience... except for when it crashes and locks up my entire system.

YAY.
posted by jefflowrey at 4:07 PM on September 1, 2008


Turning a web browser into an OS is more or less what Google is attempting here.

After reading about sandboxes and plugins and stuff in that comic, I'm not so sure. I can't picture video games, photoshop, printer drivers, web servers, and app servers, running inside a web browser as plugins. Maybe you mean something else, though.
posted by popechunk at 4:07 PM on September 1, 2008


The comic is very long so I'm only partially through reading it so far, but does Google explain why they used Webkit instead of Gecko and if their new javascript engine is related at all with Webkit's own new squirrelfish javascript engine?
posted by gyc at 4:11 PM on September 1, 2008


I'm not so sure. I can't picture video games, photoshop, printer drivers, web servers, and app servers, running inside a web browser as plugins.

Web-based Photoshop. People already play Flash games and run remote desktop services over the web. As for the hardware stuff, why not? It's just an abstraction layer away.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:15 PM on September 1, 2008


Oh, goodie. Another browser to check XHTML and CSS against.
posted by signal at 4:19 PM on September 1, 2008 [11 favorites]


Google Blog post

Not all the info is out yet, because this happened sooner than intended.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:22 PM on September 1, 2008


What, exactly, would you have had Mozilla do?

I don't know that I would have had them do too much different, just think it's interesting to be aware of a way people are being influenced. I'd think maybe a little sign "Sponsored search box" or a mention in the About box might be nice, like how the newspapers have to put "ADVERTISEMENT" on the top of an ad if it's not clearly one. (And then of course some ads just get put out in press release form so some shit journalist can copy and paste into an article.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:28 PM on September 1, 2008


From wildcrdj's link:

This is just the beginning -- Google Chrome is far from done. We're releasing this beta for Windows to start the broader discussion and hear from you as quickly as possible. We're hard at work building versions for Mac and Linux too, and will continue to make it even faster and more robust.
posted by popechunk at 4:31 PM on September 1, 2008


As for the hardware stuff, why not? It's just an abstraction layer away.

You may be right, but from the minuscule amount I know about this specific browser, I would tend to disagree. I guess only time will tell.
posted by popechunk at 4:34 PM on September 1, 2008


Oh good, another Windows-only Google project. You know, I really like Google, but you'd think they'd realize they could get a lot more free evangelism if they'd be kinder to Mac and Linux users (who tend to more enthusiastically promote the things they love, in my experience). A lot of educators were interested in Lively, but it was (and remains) Windows-only, too. Eh.
posted by wintersweet at 4:37 PM on September 1, 2008


I really like some of the browser features. I can't really get my head around the section about the V8 javascript though, and that's probably the easy version. Others brought up this being an OS of sorts - I'm not all the way through the comic yet, but if anyone with some knowledge on the subject could extrapolate on that a bit for me, I'd appreciate it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:37 PM on September 1, 2008


My favorite thing about Firefox is surfing with Adblock and NoScript turned on. Since Google is an advertising company, I'm thinking that they'd never put up with features like that.

I'll just put in a small endorsement at this point for Privoxy, an HTTP proxy that sits between your web browser and the outside world and does the ad filtering and sanitization for you. It's been one of the first pieces of software I install on any new machine of mine for several years now.

The nice thing about doing ad blocking with a proxy instead of within the browser is that a single proxy instance can serve any browser that runs on your machine; you have one consistent ad blocking and privacy guarding policy for any browser you want to try. All that's required is configuring the browser to use a particular port on localhost as its proxy connection, and practically every browser ever made supports proxy configuration, since it's very common in office and other LAN environments.
posted by letourneau at 4:38 PM on September 1, 2008 [17 favorites]


Man, these guys have thought of everything a browser needs to have: with the new start page, they've included the key feature-that-Opera-users-can-point-to-and-say-"we had something a bit like that first"

Also thank FUCK for that autocomplete behaviour. Safari turning CNN into cnn.com/something/way/too/deep is a pita.
posted by bonaldi at 4:46 PM on September 1, 2008


Google may become evil, and I don't know that this is a step in that direction, but I will always love them for making Sketchup free. Even if we ever break up.
posted by Eekacat at 4:48 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Guy #1: Hey, $X is "using their browser marketshare to give more people the option of hiding from the unwelcome, prying eyes of Google and saving me from being profiled for adwords and who knows what else."

Guy #2: Awesome! But wait, who is $X?

Guy #1: Microsoft.

Guy #2: Uhhhhhhhhh......
posted by DU at 5:24 PM on September 1, 2008


...Firefox 3 a bloated memory hog whenever you run it for more than a few hours...

What. I assume this must be on Windows, where *everything* ends up being a bloated memory hog that requires a reboot every 20 minutes.
posted by DU at 5:28 PM on September 1, 2008


I was also amused that the proposed solution to memory leaks isn't proper programming, it's killing processes at every opportunity.

Google can't do anything about bugs in web app Javascript — at least this mitigates the damage they can do a little bit. I'm not sure how you expect Google to single-handedly impose "proper programming" on the world.
posted by enn at 5:32 PM on September 1, 2008


here's a copy of the comic you can scroll through on google's own book service.
posted by delmoi at 5:57 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Where the hell are Zot and Jenny and Uncle Max? Threads and processes? What about portals? The Internet makes everything boring.

I love how in the comic Google keeps hammering on that open source idea in order to stave off nerd-paranoia flipout. They want to be cuddly but they come off as creepy because no matter how many beanbag chairs they have we know they could, if they wanted, kill us all using the special gas-release canisters in their squad of "Street View" hybrid death cars."You can see the code!" they promise. "Swear to God we are not trying to take your Internet away. Really! We even hired Scott McCloud to draw men with beards, and you nerds love Scott McCloud. Trust the wee picture people!" It's almost like they...have...something...to...
posted by ftrain at 6:06 PM on September 1, 2008 [5 favorites]


Here's the thing: both Microsoft and Google do things for no reason beyond profit. That's the big and the small of it. Any lip service that pay to other motives is just window dressing on their drive to make bigger and bigger profits. This is why Microsoft abuses its monopolies, and this is why Google ignores private property laws and argues that "privacy is dead."

Mozilla doesn't exist to create profit. It has no motive to ignore or betray its users. I'll stick with the software from a non-profit with a correspondingly smaller reason to screw me over.
posted by oddman at 6:19 PM on September 1, 2008


Mozilla doesn't exist to create profit. It has no motive to ignore or betray its users.
B doesn't follow from A. There are plenty of motives for it to ignore or betray its users that aren't profit. It ignores users all the time from political motives, even when they go to the lengths of registering for bugzilla and begging it to do something.

In fact, the sheer desire to continue existing is motive enough for all the evil you need. Money, on the other hand, is a deal with two sides. I'd rather be able to vote with my wallet than try and win another bugzilla war.
posted by bonaldi at 6:29 PM on September 1, 2008


"It ignores users all the time from political motives, even when they go to the lengths of registering for bugzilla and begging it to do something."
posted by oddman at 6:42 PM on September 1, 2008


Out-of-the-box integration with Gears is a fantastic idea. Can't wait to try this- hopefully the linux version won't be too far off.
posted by kryptondog at 6:46 PM on September 1, 2008


signal: It uses Safari's WebKit rendering engine, so theoretically the behavior should be exactly the same. IIRC, WebKit has been one of the most standards-compliant renderers around for quite some time. (It's currently the only one that passes both Acid2 and Acid3, at any rate.)

The Javascript engine is a whole different story. If they've really managed to get just-in-time compilation working -- which is what it sounds like -- then that plus incremental GC should blow everybody else out of the water, performance-wise. In fact, that plus the canvas tag could even wind up making Flash and Java applets obsolete for many purposes.
posted by teraflop at 6:48 PM on September 1, 2008


"You might not be making your rebuttal point as clear as you'd like"
posted by bonaldi at 6:49 PM on September 1, 2008


Here is the comic from Google, it is taking quite awhile to load. It looks as "all" it does is create a VM for each tab. I rarely, rarely run into instances where my browser crashes. I'm really curious as to what Google is up to that would require this. I was under the impression that the move was to have the heavy lifting on the server-side and use browsers to just serve up a UI. In any case the only time I see browser instability is from the proliferation of the 3rd party add-ons. There's on real substitute for badly written code, I don't think creating a VM helps that.

In any case, for a good client-server model I would assume they'd go the route of ThinkOrSwim's software, and maybe they are. You download, install and it runs some UI functions locally, but pulls down data remotely, and if you're not running the latest version of the shell program it'll update it for you. If Google is trying to create a scenario where the OS is simply a glorified hypervisor for Google Chrome, I don't know if that will work.

It is an interesting distribution model, I'd be very interested to see how this will work out, but I believe rather firmly that application distribution will be heterogeneous as long as bandwidth is a finite resource. It will always be a trade off between what can be cached and processed locally and what can be shoved over a pipe. Even though I'm incredibly connected I still run into times when my aircard reverts to CDMA and pulling down text becomes a chore. I guess this is designed to sort of be a low-bandwidth alternative to VMWare's Thinapps and be more flexible than XHTML/CSS in terms of UI. You won't be able to do video editing and more complex tasks due to bandwidth constraints, but I guess the majority of people only really need Microsoft Office functionality.
posted by geoff. at 6:52 PM on September 1, 2008


"It ignores users all the time from political motives, even when they go to the lengths of registering for bugzilla and begging it to do something."

You seem to have some example in mind. In any case what you construe as ignoring could be just as easily taken to be a disagreement over the direction and features of the software.

When Mozilla does something it's almost certainly to be because the programmers and directors there have a different view of what should be done. When Google and MS do something they do it for no reason other than increasing profits. That is Mozilla does things that it thinks are good for their browser (you may not agree, but nevertheless they have their browser's interest at heart); when Google or MS do something it's purely to increase profits.
If forcing you to wait 20 minutes for every single page to render would somehow increase profits at MS or Google, they would force you wait the 20 minutes.

Put it this way: Google, Microsoft, and Apple view their browsers as means toward ends; Mozilla views its browser as an end in itself. I see this as Firefox's single best feature.
posted by oddman at 6:53 PM on September 1, 2008


Out-of-the-box integration with Gears is a fantastic idea. Can't wait to try this- hopefully the linux version won't be too far off.

I don't think we'll have long to wait. I might even try it in Wine, just for laughs.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:57 PM on September 1, 2008


In any case what you construe as ignoring could be just as easily taken to be a disagreement over the direction and features of the software.

The point is that non-coder users have virtually zero traction over Firefox. If the team/coder decides that a particular decision will be followed to the death, um, that's it, you're stuck with it until you die.

Whereas, when there's money in the equation, users have traction. They can either stop paying, or they can generate enough bad press that it affects stock values and then, hello, Mr Manager is stepping in and saying "enough. fix this".

Put another way: if forcing you to wait 20 minutes for every single page to render would somehow comply with a bastard-mad interpretation of RFC 1234, Firefox would force you to wait 20 minutes. Mozilla views its browser as an end in itself, so you get academic theoretical nonsense and the developers taking over the asylum.
posted by bonaldi at 7:01 PM on September 1, 2008


>like how the newspapers have to put "ADVERTISEMENT" on the top of an ad

Well Firefox does put "Google" in the search box, so people know that they're not using some in-house search service. Furthermore, the NY Times doesn't list all of its revenue sources on the inside front cover.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 7:15 PM on September 1, 2008


OK I see where you are coming from now. So, I'll just stop here and let the invisible hand make things all better.
posted by oddman at 7:25 PM on September 1, 2008


For what it's worth, Firefox will soon have a significantly better Javascript engine as well. And with only half the tinfoilhattery.
posted by Slothrup at 8:20 PM on September 1, 2008


Sun Tzu said the contour of the land is an aid to an army. Google Chrome's objective is to reshape the lay of the land so it can win the battle of the internet.

Before I go into why Google wants you to use its new browser, let me discuss the issue of privacy. To those of you who are concerned about privacy, allow me allay your fears to a certain degree. Google won't be able to steal your information, browsing patters, etc. any more than they already do, anymore than Microsoft or Firefox or Opera do for that matter. And for the most part, they don't, because it's something easily detected and people in the privacy advocacy industry jump on it whenever it does happen. Where it happens is through ads, cookies in ads, site, etc. and for the most part the browser has nothing to do these, except when it gives you powers through tools such as plugins (Adblock Plus for Firefox being a perfect example). If this really is a problem for you then the use of a proxy that knows and blocks these sorts of things is what you want.

So just to make it clear, Google won't be offering you this browser with the hopes grabbing more of your privacy through nefarious means. No, their goal it to reshape the contours of the land to better serve its bottom line.

Here is how Google offering their own browser creates distinct advantages for Google:

1. Tailor the browser to better represent their own web applications. A perfect example of this is how GMail won't need to show the omni address bar. It's simple to do, it's what power users/productivity freaks want, and it makes the web look that much more like a regular application.

2. Enhance the engine that powers their web applications. IE is languishing in the performance department. Over 30% of users are still on IE6 and a similar amount on IE7. Firefox is doing a good job at addressing JS Performance with TraceMonkey, but it can still be a bit of a hog sometimes (mine uses up to 30% of my CPU for no good reason). In order for GMail/Docs/etc. to be more appealing, they have to run more quickly, more smoothly, and Google needs to step in to offer that optimal performance if it wants to offer compelling online alternatives to offline applications (Word, Excel, etc.).

3. Increase the user base of the tools it has developed to bring the internet off the web. I'm talking Google Gears here. By offering offline availability of existing Google services, Google can once again better compete against the Excels and Words of the world, while also keeping it's GMail and Calendar users more happy and productive. A good example for this might be the contact list in Gmail, which kind of sucks, even if Apple's Address Book sucks almost just as much. If you could better user that contact list offline, then I bet they'd put more effort into it at the same time. Again,

4. As a cost saving method. Yup, Google paid Mozilla $57 million in 2006 to have its search box as the default home page and sit in the top right corner of the browser. That deal goes on for another three years. That gives Google three years to try to match Firefox's market share. Google knows a lot of people who use Firefox are the same savvy people who use Google, and there's no doubt they don't mind absorbing as many of them (with gears and better web app interopability) as possible while at the same time attacking IE's users with its brand name recognition. If it works then it won't have the need to pay Mozilla for all those search results, although I bet it would just to shore things up... another reason it might stop in 3 years would be because the practice might be deemed monopolistic or anti-competitive since it's not really cool influencing your competition in the browser market like that. Maybe someone with the proper legal-fu can better flesh out that idea for you.

5. Stick it to the man. And by man I mean Micros|$oft. Google has won the advertising battle, but that's the only corporate battle which can be won on the internet. Every other fight will always loose to the never ending insurgency that is Open Source. Open Source has time on its side. It has loosely coupled, low powered means of making things happen. Open source is like the celeron grid that runs Google data centres: inexpensive and easy to swap out dead machines. With time, no commercial app can stand up to the power of open source, once the motivation gets behind it. Google knows this. Microsoft knows this. Google has no choice but to use the open source cancer to strike at the very heart of Microsoft.

As a power user I'm anxious to see how Google Chrome will be able to improve my workflow. As a tinfoil hat wearer, I'm anxious to see if plugins such as Addblock Plus will exist for Google Chrome (hint: this ain't Apple's App Store, so the outcome appears rather positive). As a web developer, I'm both cursing yet another environment to test, and excited to see Webkit (which is used in Safari and iPhone's browser, amongst other places) gain popularity as it has some nicely implemented features. Finally, as a nerd who does tech support for his family, it's one more opportunity to get members of Internet Explorer. Phew!
posted by furtive at 8:40 PM on September 1, 2008 [14 favorites]


my kingdom for an editor!
posted by furtive at 8:42 PM on September 1, 2008


Google has won the advertising battle, but that's the only corporate battle which can be won on the internet. Every other fight will always loose to the never ending insurgency that is Open Source.

I want to figure out the insurgency which will defeat advertising.

Personally I view malicious advertising (e.g. almost everything on the television, the majority of what's online or in print media, a lot of billboards...) as a reason to make a mental note against giving the advertising entity any money. You're paying them to annoy you.

So insurgency one, spread this idea.

A more widespread idea I also personally see is that ads, especially online, will just lose efficacy. I actually don't generally ad-block except the Firefox pop-up blocker, because not ad-blocking allows opportunities for the above and with just about everything except Wikipedia sold out at least a little bit, me often visiting sites of people I like, and not buying things, it punishes advertisers by transferring money from them to people I like. But even, though I don't ad-block, I rarely really see any ads. They get filtered out as noise. Ask me what the ads are for on a page I just looked at and chances are that information never entered my mind - many people I've talked to report the same. And the ones that do manage to impinge upon me are just great incentives to not buy the product - so sneaking past the Firefox pop-up blocker has me never subscribing to Netflix or the Economist and the ONDCP putting interstitials on the NY Times has me explicitly never giving a shit if my future medicine cabinet and hypothetical Robitussin stock is not locked against my junkie children.

Insurgency two, people just don't see the ads anymore. This one is nice because I don't have to do anything.

I had insurgency three here, which involved the most effort and the greatest of justice. However, while I see the idea as moral and believe it would be currently legal, upon reflection any rich entity can sue the shit out of any non-rich individual for any reason and new laws may be purchased. So, to keep the option of actually doing it anonymously open in the future unfortunately I feel I should not share at this time.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:08 PM on September 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


What. I assume this must be on Windows, where *everything* ends up being a bloated memory hog that requires a reboot every 20 minutes.

Protip: Upgrade from Windows 98 today!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:04 AM on September 2, 2008 [7 favorites]


Using existing parameters, there's even a way to make Opera support an Adblock function.

I think you mean Opera has had built-in content blocking for a couple of years now
posted by ghost of a past number at 12:39 AM on September 2, 2008


jefflowrey:
Aside from the basic horribleness of the notion of spawning processes instead of threads (why did we invent threads in the first place, kids?)

We invented threads to work-around fundamental flaws in MS Windows (and earlier efforts, such as VMS) that make it really really expensive to make a new process. Unix makes it really cheap to fork a new process, which makes programming easier - since complex threaded programs are hard to write correctly.

So, Google's "tab is a process" architecture is a very Unixy approach. Windows makes it tricky to use processes, because they are slow to create, and inter-process communication (signals, pipes etc.) is poorly and inconsistently implemented. I'm sure Google have worked hard to overcome these drawbacks, so that Chrome's higher-level programmers can use processes with all the convenience that comes as standard on Unix.

We'll see when the source code comes out, I suppose.
posted by mr. strange at 1:08 AM on September 2, 2008


What. I assume this must be on Windows, where *everything* ends up being a bloated memory hog that requires a reboot every 20 minutes.

Eh, it's fair-to-moderately bad on my Windows machine, but my frustration is nothing compared to the howls of anguish I hear from friends using it on Macs, where it's reached throwing-it-out-the-window levels.

Don't get me wrong, I like FF3, but trying to pretend that (for many users, at least) it doesn't regularly guzzle your memory and then stop working because it's had an attack of the vapours is just being a bit la-la-la-can't-hear-you.
posted by flashboy at 1:47 AM on September 2, 2008


i doubt they'll try to prevent tools like adblock. why bother?

google's rationale something like this:

assume a percentage of the userbase uses such a tool (i confess, even though "adblocking is theft"); prevent that percentage using blocking ads, they will switch to an adblock capable browser. google then loses marketshare to firefox and gains 0 revenue.

even if google let them block ads, installing the adblock will always require extra effort (either because you need to install the plugin or something) so the number of people using it will remain trivially small. no great loss, and probably gains.

google stand to win much more by opensourcing their browser than they might by preventing an adblock extension.

i suspect many software vendors are quite happy to accept a degree of piracy / advertisement evasion in exchange for not losing mindshare / marketshare.

in the face of adblocking, content generators will need to revise their business model before adblocking becomes common enough that their revenue tanks. i'm sure google will make that transition just fine.

ask king canut about the tide.
posted by xurizaemon at 2:24 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


> WebKit has been one of the most standards-compliant renderers around for quite some time. (It's currently the only one that passes both Acid2 and Acid3, at any rate.)

It comes up to 74/100 for me on Acid 3, and Acid 2 isn't a pixel perfect reproduction of the reference rendering either (Safari 3.1.2 on Windows XP). Both Opera and Webkit got to 100/100 on Acid 3 at around the same time (Webkit announced a few hours earlier than Opera, both for internal builds. Opera made a release of it a few days later).
posted by bjrn at 3:07 AM on September 2, 2008


I had some problems with firefox 3 at its launch, including frequent crashes. Turned out it was some of the extensions that screwed things up. I killed them and now everything works fine.
posted by darkripper at 3:26 AM on September 2, 2008


Advertisers: I will look at your ad if I want to. I won't want to very often. If you try to make me look at your ad, you will piss me off and ensure I do my best to ignore or block it. I use Adblock Plus, but I don't subscribe to the EasyElement list that blocks Google's text ads. This is because I don't mind Google's text ads appearing on the web pages I visit. And this is because they're unobtrusive and usually fairly well-targeted (and when they're not, the targeting failures are often at least amusingly hamfisted). I even click the occasional sponsored link, which is something I would never do to a banner ad or (shudder) animation. It seems to me that Google's success is due in large part to having figured out how to do advertising well.
posted by flabdablet at 4:02 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Firefox 3 is MUCH faster and less of a memory hog on my Mac than Firefox 2 ever was.
posted by sveskemus at 4:07 AM on September 2, 2008


however the link that you have provided for Google Chrome is not working. Showing a 404 error.

It's not live yet, but was named as the URL where it will appear when it's released later today.
posted by Happy Dave at 4:11 AM on September 2, 2008


The two things that popped out for me when I read it:

1. Javascript compiled into native code? Yay! Now scripts in the webpage can have real exploits instead of just trying to install malicious ActiveX controls or Firefox extensions! And these exploits targeted at Windows can probably do random trashing to my Mac now, too! Sure, sure, it's sandboxed - but where there's a sandbox, there's a privilege escalation. Welcome to yet another third-party app update scheme, kids!

2. Comes with Gears. This is somehow ironic given that it's using Webkit, and Safari has its own competing but under-promoted offline storage - based on the html5 draft specs, no less.
posted by egypturnash at 5:11 AM on September 2, 2008


I got the paper version of this the other day, but I was too distracted with OMFG-crazy-Palin-pick nonsense to notice.

Very happy to see Scott McLoud illustrating it, though I have to wonder what the Chris Ware version would look like. More gears and levers, I imagine.
posted by rokusan at 5:29 AM on September 2, 2008


I hate intrusive ads, but I love this shit: in the face of adblocking, content generators will need to revise their business model before adblocking becomes common enough that their revenue tanks

Why didn't we come up with this as kids? It would have been so much better going into the newsagents, nicking all the sweets and then telling the dude "hey man you need to revise your business model so that we can get free sweets, fool. We gonna steal them anyway".
posted by bonaldi at 5:33 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why didn't we come up with this as kids? It would have been so much better going into the newsagents, nicking all the sweets and then telling the dude "hey man you need to revise your business model so that we can get free sweets, fool. We gonna steal them anyway".

Are you seriously equating doing the computational equivalent of putting duct tape on your screen in the right places with stealing?
posted by Pyry at 5:55 AM on September 2, 2008


No, because that really upsets thieves. I'm equating the computational equivalent of taking shit for free without "paying" and then justifying it on moral grounds with the schoolboy equivalent of taking shit for free without pay and then justifying it on but-i-want-it grounds.

Don't like ads? Don't visit the site. But they're part of the deal with getting shit for free, so if you take the shit, take the ads.
posted by bonaldi at 6:02 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Don't like ads? Don't visit the site. But they're part of the deal with getting shit for free, so if you take the shit, take the ads.

Fair enough. So I assume you never mute TV comercial breaks, let alone flick between channels or fast-forward past 'em, right? You want to watch the show? You sit through the ads.
posted by Reto at 6:07 AM on September 2, 2008


Don't like ads? Don't visit the site.

I'm stealing the Internet people. One page at a time.
posted by chunking express at 6:13 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fair enough. So I assume you never mute TV comercial breaks, let alone flick between channels or fast-forward past 'em, right? You want to watch the show? You sit through the ads.

Right, because that's the same as running my TV feed through a filtering process so that the ads never get to my screen.

It's wild the justifications people come up with for ad blocking. Look, the net barely functions as a revenue model for media as it is, why make it worse? There really isn't a good way to defend it other than "I want the shit and I don't care how they make it pay they just have to make it pay because I want the shit so they better come up with something, yo" as if there's a right to free stuff.

Of course, there's a balance: I use a pop-up blocker. I will flash-block that annoying bug ad on sight. That's because I want those types of ads to die. I don't block all ads, because I don't want the whole principle of ad-supported content (which is nearly all that's left since we stopped paying for content) to die.
posted by bonaldi at 6:15 AM on September 2, 2008


Right, because that's the same as running my TV feed through a filtering process so that the ads never get to my screen.

Well yes, actually it is. The process might be different, but either way your using technology to let you hide / silence the advertising that's paying for the content you're looking at.

The mute button is an electronic 'filtering process' that ensures 'the adds never get to my [speakers]'. Same with flipping channels, same with hitting 'skip 30s' on my TiVo or VCR.
posted by Reto at 6:21 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't have anything ideological against advertising, like TheOnlyCoolTim seems to, but I do massively oppose moving or blinking or noisy ads. A quiet image that just sits there I don't care about.

So I run AdBlock sans a subscription list and just manually block the moving crap. I'm sufficiently easily distracted by movement that its literally impossible for me to read a page if there's a moving ad; my eyes keep being dragged to the movement. So, for me, one of the critical parts of a browser is the ability to selectively block Flash, and to block moving gif's.

Hopefully Chrome will allow extensions and AdBlock or some equivilant will be ported to it by the time the Linux version comes out, cuz it sounds moderately interesting.
posted by sotonohito at 6:27 AM on September 2, 2008


Of course, there's a balance: I use a pop-up blocker. I will flash-block that annoying bug ad on sight.

Are you for real? Why don't you let us all know what's cool to block, and what's not, and then we can all block ads safe in the knowledge we aren't stealing the Internet. (Because i'm sure those super annoying ads are also paying for someones hosting bills.)
posted by chunking express at 6:27 AM on September 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Does anyone know which platforms we should expect for the beta? I would love to try this out on my Mac.
posted by raddevon at 6:39 AM on September 2, 2008


Are you for real? Why don't you let us all know what's cool to block, and what's not, and then we can all block ads safe in the knowledge we aren't stealing the Internet. (Because i'm sure those super annoying ads are also paying for someones hosting bills.)

Look, flids, is this so deeply difficult to understand? Advertisers have an expectation that people are going to ignore some of their stuff; they'll flick past them in the magazine, they'll turn the sound down, they'll talk over them, they'll browse past them, they'll block the pop-up. All this is accounted for in the deal.

But when you get to the xurizaemon level, where advertising itself just isn't on, and people "need" to come up with a new business model to continue giving out free stuff, that's welching on the deal. Because there isn't anything beyond a) paying, b) ads.

And I really don't want us to get in a technological war with ads getting ever-more intrusive. I'm kinda surprised that they still serve the images from ads.adsAdsAds.ads.com as it is. AdBlock would be fucked if the ads came from the same site as the content, f'rinstance.
posted by bonaldi at 6:39 AM on September 2, 2008


@raddevon Just Windows at launch. Mac / Linux some time later.
posted by Reto at 6:43 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Advertisers have an expectation that people are going to ignore some of their stuff; ...

bonaldi, you're just trying to justify what you've chosen to block. I can make the same argument with respect to my much more extensive list of blocked ads. (For example, I'm sure advertisers take into account that some percentage of a sites users are going to be blocking their ads.) Why you should I even bother looking at something I'm not interested in? That's a waste of my time and the advertisers time.

Using the same model for advertising that worked in newspapers and magazines on something so different as the Internet is just lazy and poorly thought out. It works for now because most people can't be bothered to install simple tools to block advertising. That's not going to last forever.
posted by chunking express at 6:58 AM on September 2, 2008


Those who would worry so much about ad blocking can easily turn their site into a pay site. Freedom costs a buck-oh-five.
posted by furtive at 7:01 AM on September 2, 2008


Screenshots.
posted by popechunk at 7:03 AM on September 2, 2008


bonaldi: You lost your moral high ground with your admission of partial-blocking on the web. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Advertising on the web, for the most part, SUCKS ASS.

Google is, I think everyone can agree, the most successful web advertiser without peer. And they do it all without pop-ups, pop-unders, or animated whack-a-mole banners.

How do people see how successful Google is, and say "Yeah, I'm going to advertise the exact opposite way of the market leader"?

Small tasteful banner ads are no skin off my back. I occasionally click-thru on banner ads on purpose at sites that I like and want to help support. Penny Arcade for instance. They personally clear advertisers for their site. I often click on the banners just to make them half a cent or whatever.
posted by Ynoxas at 7:07 AM on September 2, 2008


bonaldi, you're just trying to justify what you've chosen to block.
No, I'm arguing between some and all. I'm arguing that it's OK to say "Use popups and you'll get no support from me", but not to say "use advertisements and you'll get no support from me".

is just lazy and poorly thought out.
This is back to the old they-need-to-come-up-with-a-new-business-model. But there haven't been any convincing new business models for this stuff in the past 15 years. Print media is heading for the death bed because there isn't a new business model out there for it, and a lot of other things are going to follow.

It seems remarkably short-sighted to me people simply demanding that a) they get the things for free and b) they don't have to even glance at an advert to do so. It's really is pretty much equivalent to the schoolboy and the sweets.

There are consequences to all-pervasive AdBlock, and they're not likely to the ones you want. The shop can handle the odd Mars bar going for a walk; it can't deal with a raid from a SWAT team bristling with technology.
posted by bonaldi at 7:10 AM on September 2, 2008


"It's wild the justifications people come up with for ad blocking."

A web server sends me a document. The document has some suggestions about layout, some content, and references to other objects. What the software in my systems environment does with the packets I get back from a web server is my. decision. alone. There's no justifying to do as I and I alone get to decide how my execution environment behaves. Nobody else makes that decision for me.

There's no moral imperative to render documents in a particular way. That's not what the Web is for, that's not how the Web works. If your ability to put food on your table depends on the courtesy of my web browser to adhere to custom, it's not my browser or morals that are broken, it's your business model.
posted by majick at 7:19 AM on September 2, 2008 [10 favorites]


bonaldi, nobody's disagreeing with your assertion that if everybody blocked all web ads then an ad-based revenue model wouldn't work on the web. Because, well, duh.

The thing people are arguing with you about is the bit where you called them thieves for blocking ads.
posted by flashboy at 7:29 AM on September 2, 2008


I've seen this a couple of times, so I'd better correct it. This isn't really a moral crusade. I'm not saying it's "bad" to do this, but I am saying it's at best short-sighted and at worst stupid.

Schoolboys will always steal sweets, geeks will always block ads. It's daft, though, when the argument is made that all schoolboys should get sweets for free and all geeks content for free and the providers of these goodies should just suck it up and "come up with something better".

The business model may be broken majick, but they're not going to thrash around trying to come up with some other way to get you free sweets. They're just going to close the shop.
posted by bonaldi at 7:30 AM on September 2, 2008


There are consequences to all-pervasive AdBlock, and they're not likely to the ones you want.

I agree. Just like there would be consequences if 95% of TV viewers decided that they hated commercials so much that they would buy a device to block them, or only watch public television, or turn on NPR instead. But the vast, vast majority of people, TV watchers and internet porn hunters surfers alike, not only don't mind ads, they actually kind of enjoy them. It's sort of fun to get annoyed by the painkiller that is applied to the forehead, or to see the ads for cruiseship companies on the travel section of your online newspaper, you know? (Think of all the discussion about the ads during the Super Bowl, for example.)

Whereas popups became a real irritation to enough people that most browsers will now block them by default — when something really does irritate people, a technological solution is easy to find.

Firefox has at most about 20% of the browser market, and Adblock is installed on some fraction of that, and only a fraction of those are using it in a really robust way to strip all the ads out. This is not creating pressure for a new funding model for the internet any time soon.

But your garden variety online ad is no more irritating to your average person than is a commercial for hamburgers on the TV, or a spot by the car dealer on the top-40 radio station.

Users like us (yes, including you, with your blocking of specific ad types) are a real minority; whether or not the Google browser was built to cater to people like us is going to reflect a serious design decision on their part.

The histronics about adblocking equaling theft are misplaced, I think. It's important to remember that viewers (online, of TV, or other media) are not passive recipients, but instead communicate their preferences in a host of ways. If 99% of web users began blocking advertising, that would communicate something pretty clearly, and then there would be some choices to make: user fees? per-click charges? public subsidies? line-item charges on your DSL bill? That only some small percentage of users are blocking ads, and even then only some ads, is also communicating loud and clear that ads are not a problem at the moment, and the current revenue model doesn't need to change.
posted by Forktine at 7:43 AM on September 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


bonaldi writes "AdBlock would be fucked if the ads came from the same site as the content, f'rinstance."

Ah, but the content providers can't be trusted to report true impressions so the ad companies have to serve the content.

bonaldi writes "But when you get to the xurizaemon level, where advertising itself just isn't on"

So everyone using a text browser is a thief?
posted by Mitheral at 7:56 AM on September 2, 2008


Ah, but the content providers can't be trusted to report true impressions so the ad companies have to serve the content.
I'm not sure this is a massive block. You could comfortably set up escrow serving services, everything via akamai or the like.

So everyone using a text browser is a thief?
Ads show up fine on text browsers, or they do if the ad company aren't idiots.

Forktine: I actually agree with absolutely everything you say there, wholeheartedly. My issue was with people who were saying "AdBlock will be everywhere, AdBlock should be everywhere, and content providers just need to think of something else".
posted by bonaldi at 8:43 AM on September 2, 2008


Metafilter: stealing the Internet, one page at a time.
posted by mr. strange at 8:47 AM on September 2, 2008


Has anyone said AdBlock should be everywhere? Maybe I missed that. I do think at some point AdBlock will be everywhere, the same way pop-up blockers are everywhere. You have already said that's cool, so why isn't something that hides annoying animated gif ads not cool? And if that's cool, why isn't something that hides ...
posted by chunking express at 9:00 AM on September 2, 2008


> AdBlock would be fucked if the ads came from the same site as the content, f'rinstance.

Not really; all the good ad-blockers use regexps, so you can tune them pretty finely depending on the ad's path. It's easiest to block them if they're coming from a different site than the page content, but you can also trivially block them if they're coming from an "/ads/" or "/banners/" directory on the site itself.

The only ads that are really difficult to block and not generally caught by the lists are one-offs, static ads served from the same location as the page content. Basically, ones that are part of the page content. But since they don't rotate, they're typically related to the page and hence a lot less obnoxious than your typical DoubleClick-fed banner.

Since it would be difficult to monetize ads served locally from the same server as the page (no easy way to count impressions, although I suppose you could count clickthrus), I don't see it becoming much more common than it already is.

I suppose if web advertising started to get particularly sneaky, you could begin approaching it with some of the same techniques used to filter spam -- analyze the page content and then only whitelist elements or images that seem to be related. Performing OCR on images would be troublesome, but I think it's not totally outside the realm of possibility in the near future.

The entire ad-supported business model for the web seems like a transitional one; maybe it will work long-term, maybe it won't. Users fundamentally have a lot more control over the web than they do over a newspaper or television, because the final product that they see is assembled and rendered on their machine, which they have (or should have) full control over. If they don't like something about a page -- from its ads, to the choice of font or background color -- they can change it in their browser before it's displayed. It's a pull medium, and I'm not sure how well TV- and newspaper-style eyeball-grabbery works in that context. It may work just fine, because most people won't care enough to install blockers, but it may lead to a technological war that the advertisers can't afford and can only lose.

Advertising that convinces viewers they want to watch it, in contrast, will always work. Actually, it seems to me that it works even better on the web than it does on TV, because it's much easier to query for and bring up material. Of course, since viral advertising generally stands by itself, it doesn't subsidize other content.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:00 AM on September 2, 2008


I don't have anything ideological against advertising, like TheOnlyCoolTim seems to,

I don't have anything ideological against advertising per se. The sign on a business or the side of a truck is advertising, as is honestly selling something on Craigslist, putting a chalkboard with Tonight's Special $19.95 outside a restaurant, or putting up a billboard "Joe's Diner Next Exit" and I am fine with these and many other examples. I am against lies, deceptions, and nasty harmful manipulations, which are the rule rather than the exception in advertising in many media. (Also, I object aesthetically to a lot of advertising, but this is much less important.)

Look, the net barely functions as a revenue model for media as it is, why make it worse?

I am happy to see the destruction of revenue models on the internet to the greatest degree possible. Ending the usefulness of advertising, which is the remaining big one. Finish the destruction of pay-for-"content" - the last real bastion here is actually the academic journals in my opinion, but even there open access is picking up. Move the network over to more of a mesh model so there are no ISPs anymore. Figure out how to end servers/hosting as a profit venture - some crazy distributed scheme or their provision as a public service?

I am also happy to see the destruction of revenue models IRL, though this generally seems harder. (The end of pay-for-"content" is part of IRL as well as the internet, obviously.) One large possibility depending on how much the technology pans out is rapid prototyping leading to distributed manufacturing, with, to get much more sci-fi and far-flung future, nanotech matter compilers destroying most revenue models based on the distribution of physical goods.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:14 AM on September 2, 2008


I do think at some point AdBlock will be everywhere, the same way pop-up blockers are everywhere. You have already said that's cool, so why isn't something that hides annoying animated gif ads not cool? And if that's cool, why isn't something that hides ...

I'd be very surprised if it was everywhere; I'd be pretty surprised if Firefox started shipping it as default.

Pop-up blockers are OK -- and sanctioned by big, sue-worthy corporations like Apple, Microsoft and now Google -- because pop-ups are a shitty crappy way of doing business. AdBlock destroys an entire way of doing business, and it's pretty much the mainstream one on the web.

On preview: I can't wait to see how the incentives for content producers to get out of bed work in TheOnlyCoolTim's world.
posted by bonaldi at 9:31 AM on September 2, 2008


I use adblock, and noscript, and even go right in and edit my HOSTS file, and do so without feeling any shame.

The reason for this is simple: I've already paid for all of the ads.

When I go to amazon.com and buy a book, or going to McDonalds and getting fries, I am not just paying for the fries and the book and the people who got them to me, I'm paying for every advertisement I see on the street, and on the web.

The price of every product I buy is inflated due to the fact that the provider of that product in turn buys advertising. In the real world and on web sites. Since McDonald's bought an ad-buy with Doubleclick or something, my french fries subsidize Doubleclick as well. And in turn, Doubleclick goes out and feeds money to website owners in order to place their ads.

So when I use adblock (and all the good and excellent subscriptions I have), noscript, flashblock and the old standby -- the HOSTS file -- I am merely choosing not to partake in something I have already paid for.
posted by chimaera at 9:55 AM on September 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


I am merely choosing not to partake in something I have already paid for.
Nice hoops dude, but explain again how the money you give to McDonald's to buy ads gets to the websites you use when you don't display the ads that McDonald's then don't have to buy?

What you're doing is choosing to raise the profits of McDonald's, and fractionally hurt the people whose sites you are partaking in. Rock on.
posted by bonaldi at 10:03 AM on September 2, 2008


Bonaldi has already explained that pop up blocking is cool, and everything else is stealing the Internet. Arguing in circles gets tired.
posted by chunking express at 10:15 AM on September 2, 2008


And what of the poor advertiser, who, in good faith paid CNN for that banner for YAZ (the latest wonder birth control pill), but is fractionally harmed because I have no use for it, as I am a male?

Looking through my cache, I can even see ads that have been stored on my home computer. Why is it that I'm not being reimbursed for providing storage to Doubleclick?

Fractional pain is everywhere.

I'm happy to pay for any product I watch, listen to, eat, read, see, or otherwise wish to consume. And if that means I gotta cough up a few cents a week because my bandwidth costs mathowie real money, so be it. I'll pay my share of the bandwidth. The advertisers can go stuff it.
posted by chimaera at 10:19 AM on September 2, 2008


I'm happy to pay for any product I watch, listen to, eat, read, see, or otherwise wish to consume.
Unless that product is paid for by an advertiser, right?

Bonaldi has already explained that pop up blocking is cool, and everything else is stealing the Internet. Arguing in circles gets tired.
OK, just because nobody's getting it and we're getting perilously close to the "but nothing is lost when I copy a CD so is that theft?" trope that everyone uses to tell themselves that copying is cool.

I didn't say it was stealing, I said it was like stealing. It's welching on our side of the deal. I said that I wasn't going to equate it with stealing because that upsets thieves. And it does. They leave the house and put themselves at risk to boost shit.
posted by bonaldi at 10:24 AM on September 2, 2008


What bonaldi seems to be missing is that it is possible to detect ad-blocking software in use and deny access if it's seen. There's your new model, right there. If a site's content isn't compelling enough to make me want to see ads in exchange, then the site is going to have to do some work to get my eyes back.

But websites have no right to expect that I'll download content I don't want and can prevent. They can deny me access to content based on my refusal of their ads.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:25 AM on September 2, 2008


I'm happy to pay for any product I watch, listen to, eat, read, see, or otherwise wish to consume.
Unless that product is paid for by an advertiser, right?


I do not wish to consume advertisements. I am happy to offset the fraction of a cent that any website I visit gets from their banner placement. Now, I would wager that few aside from high traffic sites (newspapers, major blogs) get anywhere near $5 per thousand impressions.

Yeah, I'll throw a cent over the fence for every 2 times I visit your blog.
posted by chimaera at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2008


They can deny me access to content based on my refusal of their ads.
and when they try to do that, and the blockers start cloaking themselves, will they then be unacceptable to use, or what?
posted by bonaldi at 10:30 AM on September 2, 2008


No, personal content blockers will never be unacceptable to use. The reason for that is that *I* have the last word on what gets to my machine. Period. I'm not responsible in any way to advertisers.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:36 AM on September 2, 2008


So might equals right? Because you can do something that makes it acceptable to do?

I have the last word on what gets in my body. Period. But I still have to pay when I eat at the restaurant.
posted by bonaldi at 10:40 AM on September 2, 2008


Wow, bonaldi. Way to create that strawman to keep you warm when you burn it.

Your analogy is NOTHING like mine, unless the restaurants you go to are attempting to shove food in your gullet against your will as a price for stepping inside.

Advertisers don't have any right to display their content on my machine against my will. End of story.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 10:46 AM on September 2, 2008


Advertisers don't have any right to display their content on my machine against my will. End of story.
So what right do you have to the ad-supported content, exactly?

The analogy is precisely the same. You CHOOSE to take the content from the sites, exactly as I choose to take the food from the restaurant. The deal is you take the ads, you get the content free. I take the food, I pay the bill. You're welching on the deal.
posted by bonaldi at 10:49 AM on September 2, 2008


Christ, dudes. Bringing this whole thing back on topic:

Browsers are becoming "application hosting platforms". Now they're catching up with some of the things we take for granted in the application hosting platform we're used to, the OS. YAYYYYYYYYY
posted by BaxterG4 at 10:58 AM on September 2, 2008


Where did I say I had a 'right' to any content at all?

Oh, that's right. I didn't. You're just arguing something I never said.

I have the undeniable right to block any content from reaching my machine, and site owners have the undeniable right to block any requests from reaching their servers.

Your analogy sucks - actually, it's completely inapplicable - because restaurants have menus, and prices. There isn't anything stopping websites from doing that too, such as Salon does - but there is no 'deal' when their content is publicly available by anonymous request. You're saying that if a restaurant forces something on me, I'm suddenly obligated to buy something.

The 'deal' there is that I've made no agreement to accept content indiscriminately, and so I'm welshing on precisely nothing.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2008


Where did I say I had a 'right' to any content at all?
Well, you're saying that it would be acceptable for you to subvert sites that tried to only show content to people who showed ads, and I'm not sure what your grounds are for that other than that you have a right to the content sans ads.

There isn't anything stopping websites from doing that too, such as Salon does - but there is no 'deal' when their content is publicly available by anonymous request. ... I'm welshing on precisely nothing.

Well, that would have been the case, but again after you first proposed that they try and stop you taking their stuff by blocking content to people who didn't view ads, you then said that you would try and subvert them if they did that as well.

If that isn't breaking an unspoken agreement (what if it was spelt out in T&Cs?) I'm not sure what is.
posted by bonaldi at 11:10 AM on September 2, 2008


No, bonaldi, I didn't say ANY of that stuff you claim I did. Did you miss the part where I clearly wrote that I don't have a 'right' to any content?

Want to try again, by actually arguing against what I DID say?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:14 AM on September 2, 2008


I would be perfectly happy to run a browser that offered the new header in its request:

Content-request-policy: selective

This header would notify the server that the browser will not automatically request the content at every URL within the page returned.

Hosts would be at liberty to deny the request. This would be perfectly acceptable to me.

But until then, there is no agreement in force. If I request a page, I've requested a page. They can serve it to me or not. There is nothing presently in the content negotiation that requires me to additionally request the content at any URL embedded in the page.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:21 AM on September 2, 2008


Uh, Dipsomaniac, you started with:
But websites have no right to expect that I'll download content I don't want and can prevent. They can deny me access to content based on my refusal of their ads.
So I asked, what about using cloaked adblockers to get around that? And you said:
personal content blockers will never be unacceptable to use.
How does this not amount to my claim that "Well, you're saying that it would be acceptable for you to subvert sites that tried to only show content to people who showed ads"?

You may have clearly written that you don't have a 'right' to any content, but that doesn't cohere with everything else you've said.
posted by bonaldi at 11:21 AM on September 2, 2008


But until then, there is no agreement in force. If I request a page, I've requested a page. They can serve it to me or not. There is nothing presently in the content negotiation that requires me to additionally request the content at any URL embedded in the page.

By this logic, it's OK to take all the papers out of the vending machine. I've put in the 50 cents, the door has opened, there's nothing present in the mechanism that requires me to only take one.
posted by bonaldi at 11:23 AM on September 2, 2008


It doesn't amount to your claim because what you claimed is not what I said.

Blocking data from my computer is not 'subverting', and it's not an assertion of any rights on my part except for my right to control what's on my own computer. You've obviously already decided that simply having ads on a website is some sort of contract, but that's just not true in any way.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:31 AM on September 2, 2008


Blocking data from my computer is not 'subverting', and it's not an assertion of any rights on my part except for my right to control what's on my own computer. You've obviously already decided that simply having ads on a website is some sort of contract, but that's just not true in any way.

Dude if they explicitly set it up so that content is only available to people who see ads, and this is the course you recommend for them to deal with AdBlock and then you continue to take the content and block the ads ... I'm not sure that joined-up thinking is your thing.
posted by bonaldi at 11:35 AM on September 2, 2008


Back on topic: Chrome Live Blog Chat thing. Apparently it will be available today at 3:00 PM EST according to a co-worker.
posted by chunking express at 11:42 AM on September 2, 2008


Bonaldi, your attempt to be insulting is somewhat diluted by your inability to read what I write. If a website sets up so that ads are integral to the viewing of content, and I block those ads...

....then I won't see content, will I? Jeezus. See how that works?

But let's examine things. Here I am, going to CNN. Goin' for news. Gimme news. Oh, look. I'm using Adblock, don't see their annoying banners and noisy flash. Still got my news. No contract there. I said you can't put ads on my machine, they don't seem to mind.

Now I go to Salon, I want their Premium content. Click on the link, don't see a thing. Oh, wait. I'm using Adblock. Turn that off, ads, then Premium content. See how that works? I had to agree to watch ads for content. Amazing.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:43 AM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


....then I won't see content, will I? Jeezus. See how that works?
I specifically asked about adblockers that cloak themselves (ie, to dupe the websites into showing the content), fannybaws.
posted by bonaldi at 11:45 AM on September 2, 2008


And I already gave you the answer. If the content mechanism depends on ads, then blocking those ads disables the content, you wee jakey bastard. Are you reading ANYTHING?
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2008


Hate to break up the adblock flame war (wait, no I don't) but it's here.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 11:47 AM on September 2, 2008


By this logic, it's OK to take all the papers out of the vending machine.

If you really think so, you don't understand what a commercial transaction is, and what is not.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:48 AM on September 2, 2008


Surprise, surprise, it's labeled as Beta.
posted by Memo at 11:51 AM on September 2, 2008


And I already gave you the answer. If the content mechanism depends on ads, then blocking those ads disables the content, you wee jakey bastard. Are you reading ANYTHING?
Is it beyond you to conceive of an AdBlock that subverts the content mechanism's dependence on ads? That fools the site into thinking you've seen the ad and then shows you the content? Because that's what "cloaked adblock" is supposed to suggest, and what you apparently approve of.

George_Spiggot: OK, make the newspapers free. Is it still OK for you to go round and remove them all from the machine in one go? It's not illegal, it doesn't break any contracts, but is it cool?
posted by bonaldi at 11:53 AM on September 2, 2008


I am now taking bets until the adblock flamefest is replaced by the "ONOESWINDOZEONLY" flamefest.
posted by signal at 11:56 AM on September 2, 2008


HEY WAIT WHAT THIS ISN'T ON MAC and IT'S BASED ON WEBKIT? /sorry /sorry must find some work to do
posted by bonaldi at 11:57 AM on September 2, 2008


Is it beyond you to imagine that downloads of ads can be tracked and verified? No download, no content. This really is kid's stuff.

No, there's not such a good way to verify that someone *saw* the ads, but that has nothing to do with blocking content. There also isn't a very good way to verify that I didn't blink too much. Better ban blinking, too.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:58 AM on September 2, 2008


Checking memory usage:

about:memory
(or click anywhere in the title bar and select 'Task Manager' > 'Stats for nerds')
posted by Memo at 11:59 AM on September 2, 2008


They said it was going to be beta, and Windows-only at first.

Had to install User Agent Switcher to even get it to download with Firefox on Linux. Ubuntu Hardy's Wine 1.0 package doesn't get anywhere with it. Oh well.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 12:00 PM on September 2, 2008


I've had it installed for about ten minutes or so. So far, Chrome is pretty nifty. Most of my usual websites load noticeably faster. Now it's time to get into the newer stuff (incognito window? say what?).
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2008


I've had it for 10 minutes. Some weirdness, but some niftyness, too. Can't wait for the first adblock tools.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2008


I'm running it now on my work PC. They weren't lying, it is quite quick. The tabs above all the other URL bar, etc, is a bit weird to look at. I guess you will get used to it. No problems thus far. Of course, I've been using it for all of 10 minutes.

Now I just need to install privoxy and start stealing some web content.
posted by chunking express at 12:02 PM on September 2, 2008


No, there's not such a good way to verify that someone *saw* the ads, but that has nothing to do with blocking content.
Uh-huh. Nothing to do with blocking at all. So, in a bid to get you to stand your argument up, let's say that the cloaked adblocker even downloads the ad but doesn't display it (thereby making advertisers even less comfortable about viewing figures). Would it still be cool to use?
posted by bonaldi at 12:03 PM on September 2, 2008


Damnit. Installer failed. Need admin permissions. Fucking IT.
posted by bonaldi at 12:04 PM on September 2, 2008


Tabs on title-bar feel more annoying than they should.
posted by Memo at 12:05 PM on September 2, 2008


I've had it installed for about ten minutes or so.

I've had it for 10 minutes.

Of course, I've been using it for all of 10 minutes.



Hive mind, I choose you.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:05 PM on September 2, 2008


I booted back to XP for the first time in months to try this sucker out.

It will of course take some time to see how it holds up in the long-term, but I'm really enjoying it so far. I'm already in love with the "home page" (cool idea to put the equivalent to FF's bookmarks menu there) and the DOM inspector tool is very nice as well. Very elegant interface. And so far, it loads like a cheetah on the crappy computer I'm testing it on.

Time will tell, I guess. I'm liking it a lot so far though.
posted by kryptondog at 12:06 PM on September 2, 2008


Gmail is super duper fast, which is reason enough to keep it in my mind.
Plus, editing some typo3-based legacy sites I maintain, which is a whole javascript-based CMS, is much faster than IE, FF or Opera.
So far, nice.
Only qualm is that I haven't been able to get the English interface instead of Spanish (I've got Vista in Spanish).
posted by signal at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2008


bonaldi: "No, there's not such a good way to verify that someone *saw* the ads, but that has nothing to do with blocking content.
Uh-huh. Nothing to do with blocking at all. So, in a bid to get you to stand your argument up, let's say that the cloaked adblocker even downloads the ad but doesn't display it (thereby making advertisers even less comfortable about viewing figures). Would it still be cool to use?
"

Why not? That's exactly the model in use NOW. Advertisers know they are paying for downloads. You might as well say that it's 'not cool' to refuse to look at billboards.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 12:08 PM on September 2, 2008


Actually, strike the language issue, it was in the options.
posted by signal at 12:10 PM on September 2, 2008


Is "rightclick > Inspector" a Webkit feature?
posted by Memo at 12:12 PM on September 2, 2008


Sorry, "right click > Inspect element"
posted by Memo at 12:12 PM on September 2, 2008


Is it still OK for you to go round and remove them all from the machine in one go?

You're into completely different territory there. I believe that taking all the papers is probably actionable in law, if not as theft then as vandalism: it is an entirely different act than getting something in order to read it. And I have actually seen clauses in the fine print box on the content page of real free papers that say that the price of a single copy is free but you may not take more than one. With websites a better comparison would be to changing the channel during a commercial on free, over-the-air television. You did not agree to watch the commercial, nor even to receive it. This is not actionable in law and under any sane law it never will be.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:12 PM on September 2, 2008


Hive mind, I choose you.

I think we were all watching the same press conference, and when they said "Go," I went. ;-)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:15 PM on September 2, 2008


Why not? That's exactly the model in use NOW. Advertisers know they are paying for downloads. You might as well say that it's 'not cool' to refuse to look at billboards.

Well, because if they knew that everybody was walking around wearing specs that blanked out billboards, they would stop putting them up or dream up something worse, right? It's not at all the model in use now, because just now advertisers have a goodish chance of ads that are downloaded getting to a screen. If that changes, then we're in a whole new technical arms race ... or they just pull their ads.

Still, I probably wouldn't be nearly as gung-ho about all this shit if I lived in the US. The amount of ads I see there startles the hell out of me every time I go.
posted by bonaldi at 12:15 PM on September 2, 2008


Memo: I hear you, I was expecting the tabs to look a bit more natural than they do (their placement makes sense, but I'm too used to FF's interface). Hopefully I'll get used to it, though.

Few more first impressions:
- Very nice and subtle "focus" tips on text and input boxes, though I don't know if that google's doing or just how Webkit works.
- Gmail is indeed lightning fast. As is Docs. I regularly use both, so this is a plus.
- The omnibox looks promising, though more testing is needed.
- Love the way the "status bar" only appears on the bottom as needed.
- Just noticed there's a javascript console in the DOM inspector as well.
- Love how the "find in page" control+f command integrates with everything else.
- The task manager is already useful. Nice!

I know that it's mainly just because I generally enjoy google's products and I'm excited about having a new browser to play around with, but I'm having a hard time finding anything I dislike about Chrome. I'm sure that won't last, but I'm impressed so far.
posted by kryptondog at 12:20 PM on September 2, 2008


With websites a better comparison would be to changing the channel during a commercial on free, over-the-air television. You did not agree to watch the commercial, nor even to receive it. This is not actionable in law and under any sane law it never will be.

I don't really think the comparison's correct. That requires you to change channels, and advertisers count on yo lazy ass being too slotherous to reach for the remote. And they sync up the ad breaks anyway. It's more something like a TV that automatically and silently removes all the advertising from your screen. Come to think of it, weren't TiVo threatened into removing exactly such a feature?

Again, I'm not saying that we have a duty to watch the adverts, just that if we chose not to using technology, and argue that everyone else should act like us, the alternative is likely to piss everyone off even more.

But I've got the BBC, so you know, I'm alright Jack.
posted by bonaldi at 12:21 PM on September 2, 2008


Chrome's rendering is insanely fast. That is all.

20 minutes!
posted by ahhgrr at 12:23 PM on September 2, 2008


Seems fine as a browser. Nothing has wowed me yet, the new tab page with boxes to popular pages you've been hitting is a nice feature, certainly not killer. The Task Manager is great, as a dev who keeps 100 tabs open on a regular basis it's nice to see which ones are the ones breaking my browser.

I thought having the tab bar above the address bar would be an issue for me, but the change is innocuous enough for me to not even notice it. I do enjoy the lack of chrome, but it still seems to be rather "blue" instead of the gray I'm used to (OSX user here).

Oh, a nice feature I just noticed: Do a search and all matches show up as yellow lines in the scrollbar on the right. Nice!
posted by furtive at 12:24 PM on September 2, 2008


Hmm, underwhelmed. I loaded up about ten tabs from a bookmark folder and it locked for nearly a minute. Some pages load right quick and some take longer. Deleting spam in Gmail took about a minute for some reason (although there were over a 1000, that's what having a FF extension that hides the spam count will do for you).

I guess I'm not really seeing what's special or different here - all the whizzy under-the-bonnet process stuff that comic went on about (for thirty-eight pages doesn't translate to a better user experience for me so far.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:25 PM on September 2, 2008


What font smoothing is it using? Apple's or Window's?
posted by bonaldi at 12:25 PM on September 2, 2008


If I could reprogram my television to detect commercials and play some syrupy new age mood videos off the home file server instead, would I be committing theft?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:25 PM on September 2, 2008


Since it's out now, and maybe some people like me are at work refreshing this page every so often to see what people think of it, do you think you three jerkholes could shut the fuck up? Argue off topic in private.
posted by Roman Graves at 12:26 PM on September 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Just a few words on ads ...

When I buy magazines I expect to do a lot of reading with (e.g. Wired, Sports Illustrated), before reading, I take the time to rip out every ad printed on card stock, because they annoy the hell out of me. Then, I rip out all the single-page ads, so the only thing left is pages with content (even if it's only on one side of the page). I call this process "deboning the magazine."

The magazine has won, because I bought the magazine. The smart ad folks who have made the savvy ad buys have won, because their ads are still there. The only people who lose are the stupid ad people that placed a bet on my greater stupidity, that I'd allow myself to be hit by their advertising bowling ball.

To me, ads online are the same deal. Once the bits have entered my machine, they are mine, and I can choose to delete them, manipulate them, whatever, so long as what I do is limited to my machine, and any tools I create for others also relies on the decisions of individual users to use those tools. There's nothing unethical about that, in the same way it wouldn't be unethical to close my eyes every time I think I might see a billboard or the logo on the side of my can of Coke.

The savvy ad folks will still reach me (hell, who among us hasn't directed someone to watch a cool commercial for its artistic or humorous value), and I'm somewhat appreciative of it, inasmuch as I'm interested in learning about new products (hey, that Hyundai Genesis sure looks nice).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:26 PM on September 2, 2008 [3 favorites]


Oh, I should also add that it's keeping a pretty tiny footprint (33MB, really?) and supports Flash.

I've noticed a weird/buggy behavior when you have tons of tabs open (they just get smaller to the point of uselessness rather than being scrollable as they are in Firefox). The tiny tabs stay tiny when you close them all, and then a few seconds later while you're surfing the remaining tabs "uncompress" to proper size.
posted by furtive at 12:27 PM on September 2, 2008


bonaldi: "What font smoothing is it using? Apple's or Window's?"

Windows'.
posted by Memo at 12:29 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's got a tiny footprint (downloading and running) and the javascript does appear to be blazing fast. I'm already a fan.
posted by seanyboy at 12:31 PM on September 2, 2008


Pretty cool to begin with, but the lack of functionality provided by all the extensions I've installed in Firefox (anyone else love the mouse gestures?) killed off the initial excitement pretty quickly.

Looks real nice, though. I suppose it is a beta, I'll have to check back later.

Oh, and I clicked through the license too quickly, anybody else catch what it is?
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 12:33 PM on September 2, 2008


anyone else love the mouse gestures?

Yep. I opened Chrome to see how fast Gmail would be (answer: very), and had to close it because I would really rather not browse without the gestures.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:39 PM on September 2, 2008


Stats for nerds == HOT!

It also happens to tell the truth about footprint, my 33MB actually equates to:
           Memory            |    Virtual memory
Private  | Shared | Total    |  Private  | Mapped
165,692k | 3,838k | 169,530k |  166,228k | 30,872k

posted by furtive at 12:40 PM on September 2, 2008


I don't really think the comparison's correct. That requires you to change channels, and advertisers count on yo lazy ass being too slotherous to reach for the remote.

Right. And 5, maybe 10% of the viewing audience isn't that slotherous, and flips over to Animal Planet during the commercial break. In much the same way that 5, maybe 10% (and I'll bet the numbers are even lower than that, since Mozilla is still less than 20% of browser traffic, and you can be sure most FireFox users aren't using the add-on) of FireFox users block the "Punch the monkey and win $20!" epilepsy-inducing, attention-grabbing crap. Majick has it exactly right: If your ability to put food on your table depends on the courtesy of my web browser to adhere to custom, it's not my browser or morals that are broken, it's your business model.

There's a second side to this, which has become much more relevant with Comcast's decision this week to explicitly cap bandwidth: there's a chance that I'm paying to download your advertisements. That's utterly unacceptable, and moves the situation away from being analogous to TV ads or billboards. It's my bandwidth, and I'll be damned if you're going to tell me how to allocate my allotment of bits every month. If you want to try to block me from accessing your page based on whether you think I'm running AdBlock, you're welcome to try, but I submit that the technology to defeat countermeasures ('cloaking,' for lack of a better term) will be an order of magnitude ahead of countermeasures, and any net you attempt to cast will catch mostly people who aren't actually using AdBlock.

Anyway, I'm gonna go download this here contraption, and see if it's worth all the fuss.
posted by Mayor West at 12:42 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't been able to import my FF bookmarks yet, it just imports 1 (the firefox addon page) into "other bookmarks".
posted by signal at 12:46 PM on September 2, 2008


...lack of functionality provided by all the extensions I've installed in Firefox (anyone else love the mouse gestures?)...

Nobody's paying attention I guess, what with the adblock stealing and all, but you can guess which browser has had built-in mouse gestures since forever, right?
posted by ghost of a past number at 12:47 PM on September 2, 2008


Anyone know if there is a one-to-one match on HTML rendering between this an Safari? If so I guess I;ll be testing on this with no need to mess around with the (utterly awful) PC version of Safari, which is a win.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on September 2, 2008


Content providers could kill off most ad-blocking by mixing in their real content with their ads. It's not false negatives that makes people stop using an adblocker, it's false positives.

This can be accomplished pretty quickly with some simple DNS trickery. If people who used ad blockers were having to futz with them constantly just to see content, they'd stop using them in a heartbeat.
posted by popechunk at 1:08 PM on September 2, 2008


Is there an AdBlockArgumentBlock? And, if so, would it be ethical to use?
posted by BaxterG4 at 1:09 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am I understanding correctly that there's no Java support? For instance, no radar looping here (plugin not available?):

http://radar.weather.gov/ridge/radar.php?rid=OKX&product=N0R&overlay=11101111&loop=yes
posted by An Infinity Of Monkeys at 1:09 PM on September 2, 2008


I think bonaldi is talking about a kind of implied social contract laying down the mutual duties of content publishers and content consumers. Trouble is, most geeks are hardcore libertarians when it comes to their computers and will never recognise the existence of such a contract.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 1:16 PM on September 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


For some reason when I close it down, it leaves a couple of processes open, and then when I try to open it again I can't, because it seems to think its already open, or something. Also I can't even manually close these processes down in task manager, so have to restart my PC if I want to use it again. Hooray!

Apart from that, I was quiteimpressed with it, to be honest. It seemed pretty quick and nice
posted by dng at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2008


Hey, I hear Google have a new browser out.
posted by flashboy at 1:19 PM on September 2, 2008


Interesting look. Is it just me or is the scroll wheel inverted for everyone? Anyway to revert it to the windows norm and make it obey my page at a time setting?

ghost of a past number writes "but you can guess which browser has had built-in mouse gestures since forever, right?"

The one you had to pay for when they first introduced the feature?
posted by Mitheral at 1:21 PM on September 2, 2008


If you block my .sig file then you're blocking my freedom of expression!

If you /ignore my adbot on IRC then you are breaking my right to express myself.

I kid, you can block whatever you want from me, bonaldi: you're a fool for thinking otherwise.
posted by furtive at 1:21 PM on September 2, 2008


How long until you can add Google Widgets to that new tab page? I bet you it's a matter of weeks until it arrives.
posted by furtive at 1:25 PM on September 2, 2008


Still no luck with Wine 1.1.3. Bah. I'll have to actually install XP again, or wait for the Linux version. Oh, the humanity.

you can guess which browser has had built-in mouse gestures since forever, right?

Jan Brady, right?
posted by Zed_Lopez at 1:28 PM on September 2, 2008


dudes I'm not ignoring your carefully reasoned arguments to why you should get shit without paying the costs of advertising because, hey, it's your PC, and why technological abilities = moral rightness = best course of action all round. I'm just taking the good ones to MeMail and blocking the rest with my plugins and shit
posted by bonaldi at 1:28 PM on September 2, 2008


(why did we invent threads in the first place, kids?)

We were drunk and feeling sassy. It seemed like a good idea at the time.
posted by cortex at 1:39 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Ah, the old adblocking = stealing argument. Never, ever gets old. And I, personally, would like to s-

Oh, wait, just finished torrenting Kung Fu Panda. I'm going to watch it now. While eating shoplifted candy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:50 PM on September 2, 2008


Missing rss integration. That's a shame.
posted by seanyboy at 1:58 PM on September 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh, wait, just finished torrenting Kung Fu Panda. I'm going to watch it now. While eating shoplifted candy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:50 PM on September 2


Eponysterical?

Missing rss integration. That's a shame.
posted by seanyboy at 3:58 PM on September 2


Wouldn't Google want you to use Google Reader for that? (Legitimate question, I don't utilize RSS much)
posted by Ynoxas at 2:01 PM on September 2, 2008


Whoa, not only did it import my IE bookmarks (with my permission), it imported my IE History without my permission.
posted by furtive at 2:02 PM on September 2, 2008


Wouldn't Google want you to use Google Reader for that? (Legitimate question, I don't utilize RSS much)

Yeah, but normally (Firefox) there's an RSS button that appears in the address bar which allows you to add a feed with a single click, which is not the case in Chrome.
posted by furtive at 2:03 PM on September 2, 2008


hoverboards don't work on water writes "Trouble is, most geeks are hardcore libertarians when it comes to their computers and will never recognise the existence of such a contract."

That or they remember when the web and the internet weren't cesspools of commercial activity and are just reverting their experience to the original.
posted by Mitheral at 2:13 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


And they welcome to it. No ads here. Make a donation!
posted by bonaldi at 2:18 PM on September 2, 2008


30 minutes. Seems about the same speed rendering as Firefox 2 (Windows), faster than IE7, slower than Safari (Mac).

The window/tab thing is hard to look at, but it's plain what they're shooting for: full screen browsing, since this will be your 'desktop' soon enough.

I didn't find GMail or Google Docs any faster than they are in Firefox 2 or 3. What the heck are you guys doing that has a noticeable difference?

'Recent bookmarks' is nice.
posted by rokusan at 2:18 PM on September 2, 2008


Okay apparently I need to be less practical, do less real-world stuff, and just run some for-loops.
posted by rokusan at 2:25 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Call me retarded, but I can't figure out how to email the page I am on to somebody. It can do that, right?
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:28 PM on September 2, 2008


Call me retarded, but I can't figure out how to email the page I am on to somebody. It can do that, right?

Umm ... yeah ... that feature doesn't seem to be present. Not even some link to Gmail. Weird. Seems pretty simple to do.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:43 PM on September 2, 2008


Call me retarded, but I can't figure out how to email the page I am on to somebody. It can do that, right?

Umm ... yeah ... that feature doesn't seem to be present. Not even some link to Gmail. Weird. Seems pretty simple to do.


Well that makes the choice easy. Back to Firefox.
posted by Mr_Zero at 2:58 PM on September 2, 2008


it's pretty fast, according to sunspider.
posted by boo_radley at 3:06 PM on September 2, 2008


Okay apparently I need to be less practical, do less real-world stuff, and just run some for-loops.

The fact that IE chokes on trivially optimized for-loop benchmarks just goes to show how shitty its JS engine is. A FORTRAN compiler detects that kind of code and simple elides it from the final compiled code. IE merrily chugs along, consuming half your CPU doing operations with no detectable side-effects. Is it any wonder someone felt the need to make a better browser?
posted by GuyZero at 3:09 PM on September 2, 2008


it renders our sharepoint portal visibly faster than IE. That's pretty awesome.
posted by boo_radley at 3:30 PM on September 2, 2008


Argh- I'm liking the minimal UI and quick rendering times, but really, is there no way to reorder/categorize my bookmarks?!
posted by xmutex at 3:37 PM on September 2, 2008


I tried to drag the tabs under the bookmark bar and I found out if you drag the tab it becomes it's own window, pretty cool and annoying at the same time.
posted by lee at 3:37 PM on September 2, 2008


Dipsomaniac: The reason for that is that *I* have the last word on what gets to my machine. Period.

Please add two more periods, and a citation. Alternatively, what hdwow wrote. You're asserting this right to control every aspect of your computer, and I can see why that seems obvious. But a counterpoint has been made that, by requesting content, you've entered into an unspoken contract1 with the publishers to display that content in good faith and not modify it.

You can (and should!) argue the definition of "good faith," and bonaldi has been doing exactly that. We can pretty much all agree that pop-up ads got way out of hand on ye olde webbe and so it's in good faith to block them. Flash ads can be the same way now. Business can block porn ads in good faith. And hell, you can argue that Google's unobtrusive plain-text ads are beyond your personal tolerance and that could still be justifiable. Excessive (in my opinion), but justifiable.

As long as most people (both publishers and consumers) keep to reasonable definitions then we can let it evolve organically. Once publishers start bandwagoning onto a particularly intrusive delivery method (pop-ups, flash banners that take over the page) or consumers start widely blocking reasonable delivery methods (text ads, unobtrusive images), we spiral into the arms war scenario and nobody wants that.

Meanwhile, blocking all ads because you don't want to see any of them, but still expecting the privilege of the content they supported, is unethical. That's our claim. You're welcome to successfully develop an alternative market mechanism and we'll all shake your hand if you do. In the meantime you don't get the moral high horse by exploiting weaknesses in the current system to your own gain.

1 NOT a legal contract, no one here is saying that you currently have a legal obligation to display ads or view them or purchase their products. People are drawing analogies to stealing, not saying it is stealing. In other words, ≈ ≠ =.
posted by Riki tiki at 3:44 PM on September 2, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'll say this: It sucks at browsing back and forth within a tab. Since they are so concerned about memory cleanup you get lots of reloading when going back and forth, which annoys me. My computer has lots of memory, I'm sure I can spare a little bit of it to get nice fast browsing (like you know... the type I get with Opera). Also, Chrome can't even zoom pages. What's up with that? No bookmark aliases/nicknames? No undo closed tab?

By the way, tab dragging to window and back to tab, and rearranging tabs has been a part of Opera for some time now. I'm guessing Firefox can do it too.
posted by bjrn at 4:09 PM on September 2, 2008


By the way, tab dragging to window and back to tab, and rearranging tabs has been a part of Opera for some time now. I'm guessing Firefox can do it too.
Firefox lets you drag and rearrange the tabs order, if you drag it out it makes a desktop shortcut, not a window.
posted by lee at 4:21 PM on September 2, 2008


Also, Chrome can't even zoom pages.

Ctrl +, Ctrl -, Ctrl 0. If you forget, it's right under 'text zoom'.
posted by signal at 4:36 PM on September 2, 2008


The T&Cs are getting some criticism, regarding forcing the user to grant a license to Google for all content sent through the software.

I expect this applies to all Google services.
posted by wodow at 5:00 PM on September 2, 2008


But when you get to the xurizaemon level, where advertising itself just isn't on, and people "need" to come up with a new business model to continue giving out free stuff, that's welching on the deal. Because there isn't anything beyond a) paying, b) ads.

Bonaldi, I didn't intend to make any moral proclamations. I was simply observing that people currently are blocking adverts. In multiple media streams. ZOMG. And that they might continue to do so. They just might.

All forms of advertising have changed over time. I'm all in favour of advertising, but I definitely like to engage and participate in my own media intake.
posted by xurizaemon at 5:07 PM on September 2, 2008


#2 If you believe "Advertising = Implicit contract to view ads": Please fax me my signed authority now.
posted by xurizaemon at 5:08 PM on September 2, 2008


it renders our sharepoint portal visibly faster than IE. That's pretty awesome.

Now you have me interested.
posted by Artw at 5:11 PM on September 2, 2008


Well, all my sites render in it pretty much exactly as intended, so I'm awesome happy.

It annoys me a bit how Google consistently makes its sites and apps automatically adopt the UI language based on your location and/or OS language, without asking you for your preference, and sometimes hides the switch to turn it back to English, and hides it very well indeed. I can read Korean, but damn, it's slow going sometimes finding the preference setting. On some newer Google subsites there doesn't even seem to be one.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:28 PM on September 2, 2008


Call me retarded, but I can't figure out how to email the page I am on to somebody. It can do that, right?

Umm ... yeah ... that feature doesn't seem to be present. Not even some link to Gmail. Weird. Seems pretty simple to do.

Well that makes the choice easy. Back to Firefox.


This bookmarklet works fine in Chrome for that purpose(if you use gmail. You can probably launch another client pretty easily with some minor tweaks):

http://email.about.com/library/misc/blgmail_this_bookmarklet.htm
posted by mikesch at 5:43 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm disappointed. I expected at least two versions of "GoogleChrome" by Paul Simon. I wrote mine 10 minutes after downloading the browser. Evidently, I received the wrong directive. I see now I was supposed to come here and post and not scribble a bad parody.
posted by ?! at 5:52 PM on September 2, 2008


I like how the EULA is in some encoding that my (work SOE) copy of IE doesn't understand, and renders as gibberish.

"‹Å=isÛÈ•ŸÇ¿¢ã­Êˆ»0eöxbS´YÌH¢–¤Æq%Ù4IŒA€Á!ŠIå¿ï;úHY“Ií¦jb‰º_¿ûl½ûÍùèlúù6—Óë+q", you say?

Sweet as, sign me up!
posted by pompomtom at 5:55 PM on September 2, 2008


I expected at least two versions of "GoogleChrome" by Paul Simon

I stopped at singing mine to a co-worker. I wasn't going to inflict it on the world.
posted by Roman Graves at 5:56 PM on September 2, 2008


My work internet died shortly after I installed, so I got to experience Chrome's error messages instead of Adobe Connect Pro.
posted by subbes at 5:59 PM on September 2, 2008


So, initial thoughts:
- For all the fuss about zero chrome, that url bar is the biggest goddamn one of the lot. It really needs a diet.

- The comic said these browsers are supporting apps so they need to be reliable. Yet it happily lets me close a tab having typed text into a form, with no warning and no undo. Gah.

- Font rendering is a might funky. I may just be too used to Safari.

+ Faster than the other browsers, on this machine.
posted by bonaldi at 6:12 PM on September 2, 2008


oh and ++ uses about 2mb more than Firefox to show the same pages, but releases it promptly while FF stays bloated.
posted by bonaldi at 6:32 PM on September 2, 2008


"chrome", what's that all about?

there's something kiddy about this simplicity, maybe it's the pre school blue, the radius of these corners and shaders, maybe it's the fact that at a certain point, icons minus clutter means i am now navigating the world wide web with a wrench, a folded page and a STAR - the corollary of the video game's uncanny valley must be the kindergarten ridge, wherein all 2.0 UIs begin to look like a teletubby's scrapbook.
posted by doobiedoo at 6:36 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you only want to look at the source code, you'll need at least 1.6 GB of hard drive space available. If you want to build it, you will need just under 10 GB of space, including all the object files and executables.
What the bloodclot?
posted by chunking express at 6:36 PM on September 2, 2008


... most geeks are hardcore libertarians ...

Also, fuck that shit. I just don't like looking at ads. I suspect most people block ads because they ugly up most web sites, are obnoxious, obtrusive, etc. I don't think there is anything political about it.
posted by chunking express at 6:39 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Anyone figured how to install this bitch through a proxy server that requires authentication?

I've had this problem twice with Google this week.

Tried up update Google Earth; Google threw some "Google Updater" at me that claims to download and install Google Earth, but it doesn't support http proxy authentication.

Tried to install Chrome; that installer doesn't give me any options at all...just sits there saying it's trying to connect to the internet, then fails.

What ever happened to just giving people a goddamned .EXE file to install?
posted by Jimbob at 6:41 PM on September 2, 2008


Am I understanding correctly that there's no Java support? For instance, no radar looping here (plugin not available?):

I dunno, but the weather radar in my part of the world works quite well without Java.

I'm struggling to think of much Java does these days that can't be done in Flash or DHTML.
posted by Jimbob at 7:03 PM on September 2, 2008


Also, fuck that shit. I just don't like looking at ads. I suspect most people block ads because they ugly up most web sites, are obnoxious, obtrusive, etc. I don't think there is anything political about it.

"I block 'em cause they ugly" is a reason, not a justification. The politics comes in when people try to justify their blocking. Then you get the "it's my computer, my bits" and "they should have a different business model anyway" lines coming in to play.
posted by bonaldi at 7:20 PM on September 2, 2008


I thought you were taking that shit to MeMail.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:28 PM on September 2, 2008


Oh, and the error messages aren't bad.

The page I kept seeing included a simple explanation of the problem, options to reload or find the page in google's cache (something I've previously been relying on Firefox extensions for, and am excited to see implemented), and the ability to view more nitty-gritty error details (in my case, NETWORK::Timeout).
posted by subbes at 7:48 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


My first thought was that they had chopped off the top of the browser. Where the fuck is my menu? Apparently they are against menus.

I found closing tabs to be too slow.

Opera 9.2 is where my heart lies.
posted by marble at 8:09 PM on September 2, 2008


I often pee during commercials.
posted by cortex at 8:22 PM on September 2, 2008 [1 favorite]


Once, a very long time ago, I worked for a couple of small newspapers, and the whole selling of advertising revenue was based on some voodoo estimates regarding who reads past the first page, how many times a paper is read, how many papers get tossed at the bottom of catlitter pans, and so on and so forth. No one was in a particular position to bitch over the possibility that the four-page full-color coupon insert on sunday was discarded by a majority of readers.

Which is why I don't find that an industry that has for over 100 years accepted the premise that buying a dozen column inches on page six only gives you a chance of being seen by a fraction of the people reading the publication is in such dire straits over the small minority of people who run adblock interventions.

At any rate, I can't be the only person around who thinks that AJAX is somewhere between java and X11 in what it offers to the end user? I'll admit that Gmail is pretty darn cool, although I have to say that Mail.app is often faster when it comes to searching. Google Reader always has frustrated me with it's rather weird scrolling behavior, and something I miss in Google Reader and Bloglines is the concept of a killfile and scorefile now that RSS has replaced NNTP. Google Docs lacks critical features, is badly designed as a writing application, suffers from being in a browser window, and is pokey, although I find it useful as a notepad when I'm away from my real writing applications.

The problem is the more you put the intelligence on the server, the worse problems you have with transmission speed and latency. The more you put the intelligence into the client, your client becomes less and less "thin" as time goes on.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:54 PM on September 2, 2008


Then you get the "it's my computer, my bits" and "they should have a different business model anyway" lines coming in to play.

Maybe they should have a different business model. While you may be entitled to get paid for your work when it is consumed ... no one is entitled with the right that their business model be lucrative in the first place.

You can throw buckets of ads at me. I don't have to buy your product merely because you threw buckets of ads at me.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:28 PM on September 2, 2008


As everyone else has stated, I find it super fast, but it's zoom function is crap compared to Firefox.

Zooming text, etc. in Firefox keeps almost all the page content relative/proportioned, if that makes any sense, and therefore doesn't break up tables and cells. I can zoom my facebook page in Firefox and it looks perfectly normal, just bigger.

Doing the same thing in Chrome breaks the page up weirdly. For someone like myself with quite a bit of visual impairment (and who has apparently come to rely on that feature more than I'd realized) that will keep me with Firefox.
posted by aclevername at 9:47 PM on September 2, 2008


I often pee during commercials.

Ditto, especially during the ones with Billy Mays. That dude so knows how to get his audience excited.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:58 PM on September 2, 2008


All this discussion of advertising ignores the fact that adverts are placed there so that you might buy something.

Therefore, is it immoral for me to have browsed the web for nigh-on 10 years now without having ever bought anything as the result of a banner ad. They've had my eyeballs, but never my money. I've been getting everything for free, no?
posted by Jimbob at 10:07 PM on September 2, 2008


Hmm, I just downloaded it and it does seem a bit faster then firefox, but who knows that could just be the placebo effect or something.

It doesn't seem to support middle button scrolling, though.
posted by delmoi at 10:21 PM on September 2, 2008


Just for people who, like me, are having trouble installing from behind an authenticated proxy, here's the real installation file.
posted by Jimbob at 11:14 PM on September 2, 2008


valleywag's take.
But Mozilla has shown some signs of independence, signing a deal with Yahoo for search in some parts of Asia. And the larger Firefox gets — its browser-usage share has reached 20 percent, according to some estimates — the more leverage it has over Google.

Sure, in theory, Microsoft can tie its Internet Explorer browser to its Web search and mapping services, generating traffic. But that's been the theory for years. Can we say it? Microsoft's online services just aren't very good, which is why users avoid them and they're losing money hand over fist. A new browser won't change that.

So Firefox, not Internet Explorer 8, is the real strategic problem for Google.
posted by delmoi at 12:15 AM on September 3, 2008


> Ctrl +, Ctrl -, Ctrl 0. If you forget, it's right under 'text zoom'.

I see aclevername has already answered, but still. Chrome really can't zoom pages. It can make the text larger or smaller, but it can't zoom the actual page, as a modern browser should be able to do. Opera has been able to do it for ages, FF3 has it, even IE7 can do it. Safari can't though, so I'm guessing that's the reason Chrome can't either.
posted by bjrn at 1:01 AM on September 3, 2008


Holy. Fucking. Shit. It's fast!
posted by chuckdarwin at 1:52 AM on September 3, 2008


I'm not at all a power user, so off the bat I'm very swayed just by how visually appealing Chrome is. Very clean, very minimal. It's fast, but not shit your pants fast (at least not on my older HP). I'm also keeping in mind that this is day one, and a lot of the things mentioned here that seem to be missing may be coming down the pike soon.
posted by Roman Graves at 2:07 AM on September 3, 2008


Well, I can't really complain too much about a beta, but my reviews are mixed, so far.

It is fast. When it works at all. A lot of the time, for me at least, it sort of gives up half-way through a page. Just a minute ago, I clicked on a link here on Metafilter to see who had favourited a post. The page didn't appear. I hit reload. Nothing. I hit reload again. Nothing. I put my cursor in the URL bar and hit enter. I copied the URL, opened a new tab, pasted it - instant success.

Gmail either loads in about half the time it does in Firefox...or it takes so long to load the little "You're on a slow connection, would you like the plain HTML version" message pops up.

Reading the massive Palin thread here on Metafilter, the browser would freeze up occasionally, for about 15 seconds, when I tried to scroll.

Viewing a list of about 30 Twitter friends, the page just stopped rendering, half-way through. I haven't really seen that since the days of dial-up modems.

Aside all that, it definitely got potential, just need to sort out some bugs. My test platform, by the way, is low end. A four-year old XP laptop with 256mb of RAM. Firefox doesn't run like lightning on this thing, it can be slow, but it's consistent. Chrome sometimes runs blazingly fast, sometimes doesn't run at all.

By the way, how the hell does a company like Google keep projects like this secret? I mean this is a pretty big deal; you don't write a "next generation browser" overnight in someone's basement. Surely some disgruntled / brave / clowning employees occasionally fire up TOR at home and post all the deepest details to some forum or newsgroup somewhere?
posted by Jimbob at 4:21 AM on September 3, 2008


Jimbob writes "Surely some disgruntled / brave / clowning employees occasionally fire up TOR at home and post all the deepest details to some forum or newsgroup somewhere?"

There have been Google browser rumors for a while now. They did keep a pretty tight lid on any actual confirmation of the rumors, though. But then again, Apple does that stuff all the time - if you are careful you can keep things on a speculation level without confirming anything prior to launch.

delmoi writes "So Firefox, not Internet Explorer 8, is the real strategic problem for Google."

I'd almost agree with that statement, with the caveat that as Chrome is open-source nothing stops the Mozilla folks from steal... uh, I mean borrowing improvements and implementing them in Firefox. This crazy-fast JavaScript engine, for example could probably be dropped into FF without too much difficulty. In my mind the strategic problem for Google is that too many web browsers can't handle running their cool web apps without moronic workarounds like the reimplementation of Canvas in VML to make it work in IE.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:24 AM on September 3, 2008


"Going incognito doesn't affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:

Websites that collect or share information about you
Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
Surveillance by secret agents
People standing behind you"

glad to see they still have their sense of humour :)
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 5:59 AM on September 3, 2008


I tried it and its definitely got potential. Despite initial misgivings I find that the tabs at the top approach really does work pretty well, the absence of a menubar is not nearly as bad as I thought it might be, and it does make for a clean design.

That said, yeah, it has problems rendering big and/or complex pages, which just plain isn't right.

And, I find that I've become quite attached to my Firefox extensions, not just adblock (but damn, seeing all that Flash reminds me again of why I love adblock), but the various little addons that I've come to love. Dictionary lookups in my right click menu, ForecastFox, FlagFox, etc.

For a beta it looks good, and I do think that several of its ideas will quickly be stolen borrowed by other browser makers. I'm sure that the stability issues and rendering problems will be solved quickly. Whether or not it becomes a major player I think largely depends on its capacity for addons, from my POV that's the central advantage of Firefox over IE (well, that and the fact that I can run Firefox on Linux).
posted by sotonohito at 6:33 AM on September 3, 2008


Is it rendering the header and footer of metafilter weird for anybody else?
posted by garlic at 7:01 AM on September 3, 2008


Having slept on it a bit more, I think Google isn't going after Firefox users at all, although they may still get some. They're going after IE users plain and simple, but more importantly, they now put IE even more in the minority when it comes to implementing standards in browers. Now it's Mozillia, Google, Opera and Apple versus Microsoft. That's great news for things such as html5, canvas tag, CSS3, etc. Microsoft is going to have to play along more than ever, albeit reluctantly.
posted by furtive at 7:28 AM on September 3, 2008


Echoing the mention of Privoxy. Its default settings block a whole lot of ads and it works just fine with Chrome.
posted by Foosnark at 8:35 AM on September 3, 2008


Okay, so... Windows binary install only. That's fine... Linux and MacOS X to follow... fine... that's the platform that the majority of micros run... wholly forgivable.

Being able to install the application with elevated privileges from a normal user account is nice... good it looks like the software is quite sane... after all security is the only thing that matters. But the part that is wholly unforgivable and makes me all stabiddy stabiddy full of RAGE... IS THE PART WHERE IT DUMPS THE FRACKING EXECUTABLE INTO THE ADMINISTRATORS PROFILE DIRECTORY!!! THIS MAKES THE SOFTWARE UN-USABLE TO SYSTEM USERS!!! WHO THE FRACK IS IN CHARGE OF QUALITY ASSURANCE!?!?!?

...

Anyway, this is useless unless you are running your XP / Vista box in a woefully unsecured state. This will never get on any of my *nix boxen.

Very bad first impression.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 9:24 AM on September 3, 2008 [1 favorite]


Surely some disgruntled / brave / clowning employees occasionally fire up TOR at home and post all the deepest details to some forum or newsgroup somewhere?

Nope. Google has a very good culture of keeping secrets secret. Ironically they do this by sharing information widely within the company. Chrome has been open knowledge within the company for at least a year. As in, has been talked about at company meetings. And the Infosec staff at Google are very, very good at tracking down the source of leaks. It does seem implausible but 20,000 people kept a secret for 2 years.
posted by GuyZero at 9:54 AM on September 3, 2008


PROD_TPSL: Being able to install the application with elevated privileges from a normal user account is nice ... IT DUMPS THE FRACKING EXECUTABLE INTO THE ADMINISTRATORS PROFILE DIRECTORY!!! THIS MAKES THE SOFTWARE UN-USABLE TO SYSTEM USERS!!!
It probably puts the app into the AppData\Local directory of whatever account is running the installer. I (successfully) ran the installer as an ordinary, un-privileged Vista user, and the app wound up in Users\username\AppData\Local.

In any case, it would hardly be the first install program to have a few Administrator-account hiccups under Vista, and it's v0.2. Isn't it a wee bit early to write it off as utterly worthless forever?
posted by Western Infidels at 10:00 AM on September 3, 2008


people also seem to be having difficulty making a portable version of it because of hard-coded paths, which is a pity.
posted by bonaldi at 10:55 AM on September 3, 2008


Well, if nothing else I made a new shortcut to gmail and google calendar--I don't see any reason not to run those as standalone apps under chrome from now on, even if I use FF3 for the rest of my browsing. I like that, after clicking "add shortcut", both of those pages now have their own icon, instead of the generic Chrome icon.

Things seem noticeably faster for me, too, and I love the lack of a menu or bookmark bar--finally someone understands that I am using their product to view web pages, not to look at their menus, sub menus, side-bars and whatnot. Their "chrome", I guess.

Finally, they do support addons in theory, right? I mean, of course no one has released any yet, but I'm assuming that it's only a (very short) matter of time before I get my greasemonkey, my gestures, and my ubiquity (suprised at how much I like it, btw) on chrome as well.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 10:58 AM on September 3, 2008


Ah, I see, from the liveblog:

3:22
[Comment From Gan3b]
Any chance to get addons platfrom?
3:22
Christina Warren - Gan3b - coming int he next version they alluded
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:01 AM on September 3, 2008


I had the computer running all night and I woke up to a dozen or so requests from my firewall to connect to google update. *ugh*

glad to see they still have their sense of humour :)

When I removed Chrome the popup said, "was it something we said?"
posted by squeak at 11:38 AM on September 3, 2008


Lauren Weinstein has put up a quickie evaluation of Chrome's privacy features. Better than the new IE, roughly on par with Firefox, and the worrisome recommendation feature can be disabled. At this (early) stage, it appears as though you can run it without sending any info to Google.
posted by sdodd at 11:41 AM on September 3, 2008


Western Infidel, I have been able to confirm that this installation behavior is identical on all modern Windows platforms, from XP SP1 - SP3 and Vista RELEASE through SP1.

This installation method was a design choice. Not a good one in my book... it speaks volumes.

And yes, there are many things that I have sworn off as utterly worthless for my purposes and uses. Chrome just blazed it's trail into that realm.

This install method is like running Vista on bare metal... not a good idea.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 11:45 AM on September 3, 2008


Just saw this.

Terms of Service for the new browser -

"Did you know that when you download Google's new Chrome browser, you agree that any "content" you "submit, post or display" using the service — whether you own its copyright or not — gives Google a "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" it? Google's ambitions for Chrome are even larger than we thought; by the letter of this license, Google will own all information that flows through its browser."
posted by gman at 12:03 PM on September 3, 2008


Hey PROD_TPSL, according to this /. comment there's more than one installation method, and it's chosen based on (what appears to be) a DOM property. So other people may actually be seeing different behavior than what you're seeing.
posted by sdodd at 12:06 PM on September 3, 2008


gman, I saw that, but how is Google going to track all this data you're submitting in forms via their browser?

That said, people should turn off those suggestion features, as they send data to Google in order to work.
posted by chunking express at 12:09 PM on September 3, 2008


11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

[...some less interesting bits elided...]

11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.


"Services" is defined broadly to include "products and software." "Content" is defined as "information," e.g. anything, including, hypothetically, passwords, etc.

Question for people who are using this: can you find any Additional Terms to negate this section? If not, it looks more like a BOILERPLATE FAIL than an attempt by Google to pwn everything that passes through the browser especially as the technical means are lacking, but it's a hilarious example of the pernicious rampant overuse of contracts and licensing.

Beyond the obvious "Google has a license to anything that passes through the browser," implication, 11.4 also implies that you may not transmit any information through the browser if you don't have copyright or sublicensing rights to it, even if such a transmission is otherwise legal such as a fair use quote.

(Note: not a lawyer. I'm just reading the words.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:24 PM on September 3, 2008


Well, based on what I've seen so far, I'm going to predict that people will be using Chrome to run JavaScript-heavy applications (spreadsheets, word processors) but continue to do most of their normal web browsing in their favorite browser (Firefox, IE, Opera, Safari).

Chrome is essentially a graphical shell for JavaScript-heavy apps. I think it'll be ideal for Google Docs, Calendar, and Gears-based apps, and I suspect that folks will end up with desktop shortcuts that launch Chrome plus an app. In fact, some of the new ultra-portable laptops like the EEE already ship with desktop shortcuts for GMail and Calendar; Chrome will better integrate them with the Desktop UI. And I'll bet Chrome will have special support for running these sorts of apps offline, and for the newer HTML extensions (Canvas element, SVG). I wouldn't be surprised if third parties who build JavaScript-heavy apps begin to ship a Chrome installer.

So you'll continue to use your regular browser for MeFi and Amazon and Flickr and YouTube and "normal" web sites. But Chrome will be the natural choice for running the web apps that will come to replace Microsoft Office.

Sorry for all the pontification.
posted by sdodd at 12:36 PM on September 3, 2008


People seem to be construing the EULA to mean that anything posted or displayed via Chrome is Google's to use forever. While this seems plausible for their services, such as Docs, etc., it seems unenforceable for anything else.

What is Chrome going to do, cache every bit that goes through it? Dupe every bit that goes through it to some server? Or am I missing something?
posted by everichon at 12:40 PM on September 3, 2008


As I noted, the technical means aren't present (I hope) but it clearly says "through the Services," which is defined so that it can be read as "through the software," and Chrome is certainly software.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:55 PM on September 3, 2008


PROD_TPSL: This installation method was a design choice. Not a good one in my book... it speaks volumes.
Have you tried running the installer as an ordinary user?

I've just installed it on a second Vista PC, without running as administrator, without any Administrator credentials prompts, and without winding up with any new stuff in the Administrator profile directory.
posted by Western Infidels at 12:59 PM on September 3, 2008


I suspect the EULA is mostly composed of boilerplate from other Google sites, rather than crafted specifically to steal our dataz. The use of "services" to describe a browser doesn't sit at all right, even with the "software" clarification.
posted by bonaldi at 1:14 PM on September 3, 2008


"Google reserves the right (but shall have no obligation) to pre-screen, review, flag, filter, modify, refuse or remove any or all Content from any Service."
posted by gman at 1:49 PM on September 3, 2008


gman, that makes it sound all the more like they just copy and pasted one of their other EULA. I mean, what does that even mean within the context of a web browser?
posted by chunking express at 1:57 PM on September 3, 2008


Sure have. It places the application executable...

KEY WORD **** EXECUTABLE ***** /KEY WORD

into the standard user profile...

KEY PHRASE ***** STANDARD USER PROFILE ***** /KEY PHRASE

location.

Which means that you will have multiple application executable files in every user profile directory that runs the application. Now, that might not be a huge concern with this being the era of cheap big disks, however, it does not allow for fine grained access to the application. This currently means no installation to a sane target such as C:\Program Files\Google Apps\Chrome\blahblahblahyackityschmackityhowboutsomeoj...

And don't even bother with the 7.5MiB download offline install executable. I tried passing command line arguments to query for install help... ya know the typical "C:\Some source DIR\Chrome_install.exe /?" It silently began the full install process, which I then canceled... only to have the program auto-run after silently installing itself... without my fracking permission.

So. You can't even really cancel the install. It just sleazes it's way in. Not cool. No "Real" program installation. Not in the way that it's supposed to be done on the Win32 and Win64 platforms.

This isn't really even worthy of the title BETA.

Any way... I'm done wasting my time. I've got to find exactly what is wrong with a network adapter in a Blade 2000 that's causing a kernel panic and subsequent reboot loop.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 2:08 PM on September 3, 2008


chunking express - I think it's also directed at the developers that Google is inviting to enhance the browser... Google basically owns the code if you build it for Chrome.
But it also appears to say that Google owns the data that you pass through the browser.... so if you post a file on You Tube.... They own it (twice actually) if you post a photo on Flickr... they own it.
posted by gman at 2:16 PM on September 3, 2008


Google on Chrome EULA controversy: our bad, we'll change it

Oh, and they've already said the source code itself will be under a permissive BSD-like license.
posted by sdodd at 3:06 PM on September 3, 2008



Google on Chrome EULA controversy: our bad, we'll change it


Looks done and done:
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 4:02 PM on September 3, 2008


hahah god bless them: about:internets (only works on Chrome, natch)
posted by bonaldi at 4:37 PM on September 3, 2008


ah crap you might have to type that by hand
posted by bonaldi at 4:50 PM on September 3, 2008


I'll give it a try just for kicks. But like a lot of stubborn people, I'm a Firefox user and have never been able to use anything else.
posted by ric2046 at 6:20 PM on September 3, 2008


Chrome comic parodies courtisy valleywag.
posted by delmoi at 6:42 PM on September 3, 2008


Also, another observation. Chrome is wicked fast on my home PC, but that's a 8-core, dual xeon monster box :) When playing around with chrome on an old laptop at work today, it would lock up annoyingly every once in a while.
posted by delmoi at 6:50 PM on September 3, 2008


How to enable Chrome's best features in Firefox
posted by flabdablet at 9:16 PM on September 3, 2008


In hardly any time at all I already feel just as comfortable using Chrome as my usual browsers FF and IE, neither of which I was ever completely happy with.

Chrome makes pages look nice without all the clutter and orphaned design choices, it's not distracting, it's intuitive, it's fast. Everything basic I need is already there and I'm pretty surprised about that because at first look, it's so minimalist. Due to some glitches I haven't made it my default, but today I already used it for the majority of surfing. So we'll see.

It's exceeded my expectations. But please, Google, fix the damned spell check.
posted by lucien at 11:58 PM on September 3, 2008


Three things I need before I'll switch:

- adblock
- a Tor extension
- something equivalent to session saver
posted by saysthis at 6:40 AM on September 4, 2008


Can't help you with Adblock and Tor, but there's a 'Open all your tabs from last time' checkbox in the default options.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:51 AM on September 4, 2008


Privoxy (linked/mentioned in this thread) is a pretty good alternative to adblock. It's a proxy server you run on your computer which filters out crap on the web. It does more than block ads, I think it stops your browser from sending referrer data, and does other things if you like it too. The downside is you can't right click on ads to block them right in your browser. I just run it with its default settings and it works very well.
posted by chunking express at 6:59 AM on September 4, 2008


Thanks for the link, flabdablet, but does anyone know how to remove the excess chrome from Firefox? I'm now in love with the idea of a fullscreen page of web, with only a couple bars up top for URLs and tabs--no menu bar, no bookmarks, no google bar (which I guess I'd have to uninstall in order to get rid of) &c.

I've been assuming that there's an option to remove this stuff in firefox, but I haven't found it yet.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 9:05 AM on September 4, 2008


Ah, er, apparently you just right-click the menu bar and deselect "bookmarks". Fair enough.

I do wish I could magically make the menu bar and the bookmark bar disappear unless I was in a new tab, as chrome does, though.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 9:13 AM on September 4, 2008


Install the Personal Menu extension and get the whole Menus Toolbar's functionality from a single icon on the Navigation Toolbar. And you can turn off the Status Bar and Bookmarks Toolbar.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:53 AM on September 4, 2008


Squid Voltaire wrote "does anyone know how to remove the excess chrome from Firefox?"

Hit F11 and you're full-screen with a minimal toolbar + tabs. You can also install some of the FF themes that have smaller default toolbars + buttons.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:31 AM on September 4, 2008


Yeah, I don't know why I haven't been browsing in F11-mode all the time. I also found a SpeedDial clone to hold my bookmarks, and I can post things to delicious via Ubiquity.

Chrome might not be my default, but it's already spruced it up a bit!
posted by Squid Voltaire at 11:38 AM on September 4, 2008


LifeHacker just wrote about making FireFox pick up some of Chrome's features.
posted by chunking express at 11:49 AM on September 4, 2008


« Older The legendary Ken Campbell has died. Interested in...  |  Forty years ago, Swinging Lond... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments