All posts in “Google”

Chromium Build For OS X

Chromium on OS X

Chromium on OS X

Update: Chromium build 12558 is now available.

Since Mike Pinkerton published some screenshots of Chromium running on OS X, there seems to be a little uproar in the Mac community about when we will see the final version. I decided to investigate a tad and built my own version for OS X. My version, rev 9780, seems to do a bit better than Mike’s because clicking on links work. This seems far from complete though, so if you enjoy lots of unexpected quits, this app is for you.

There is another app that is built with Chromium, called TestShell. It is a version of Chrome with basically no interface – this is the version the Mac developers have been using to port the backend code over. TestShell is quite a bit more stable than Chromium, but you don’t get any of the features. What you are seeing on Pinkerton’s site are the first versions of the Mac look and feel being added.

Some interesting things I noticed in the Chromium source code (I didn’t spend too much time looking):

  • There is an iPhone directory with resources and nib files
  • The version of WebKit being used is almost in sync with the WebKit trunk
  • There is some Mozilla code in here, but not as much as I would have thought

Other findings:

  • The Google BuildBot waterfall page is amazing – work is being done on Chromium at a rapid clip.
  • There are OS X Chromium torrents popping up of build 9750. People are having tons of problems with it.

Ok, on to benchmarks:

Chromium Chart

The updated Chromium build whomps WebKit with a 691 millisecond score. The above benchmarks are for the older version of Chromium.

Go To Downloads Page

Because this project is being developed so rapidly, I will start doing nightlies. Give me a few days to set that up.

What’s Taking Google So Long To Bring Chrome To OS X?

Google Chrome

Update: Mike Pinkerton, Mac Chrome developer, is writing some interesting tidbits on his blog.

Without being involved with Google or Chromium in any way, these are just stabs in the dark. I would love to hear from those in the know about what is going on.

As I see it, there are three fundamental reasons for the delay:

1) Priorities
Google knows the fastest way to gain market share is to bundle the browser at the OEM stage with the dominant operating system. To do this, they need a compelling case for why the browser should be bundled. This led to several things:

  • An extremely aggressive development cycle (I’m not on the dev channel, but know that they are pushing weekly builds).
  • One of the fastest Google products to pass through beta (OEM’s are somewhat reluctant to pre-load beta software).

This raises the advertising questions:

So can’t Google just use it’s advertising space to drive adoption?
Yes, but it generally doesn’t work. Chrome made a brief showing on the Google frontpage, breaking the rule of 28 but we know this doesn’t drive much traffic. Visitors to Google are usually looking to search for something, not download a new browser. Evidence of this can be see in ReadWriteWeb‘s analysis of the traffic the HTC G1 phone got from a Google link.

Also, you do see adsense ads for Chrome (instead of Firefox) popping up around IE or Firefox related articles. But I don’t think these are driving too much traffic.

2) Technology
I’m sure Chrome is packed chock full o’ technology that I don’t bring up here, but this should be a start:

WinHTTP
With the preview release of Chrome 2.0, we saw Google dump WinHTTP in favor of its own codebase. This is great and all, but leads me to believe that the original codebase was developed in a quick and dirty style in 20% time with MS tools. More on this can be read in this thread where people have combed the codebase and saw how dirty it is.

Sandboxing
This is another area where MS rears its ugly head. According to Nicolas Sylvain, Chrome developer:

The Mac and Linux version of Google Chrome are still in development. They are not ready yet.

We haven’t decided the implementation details of the sandbox on these platforms, but we clearly want something equivalent.

October 2, 2008 3:48 PM

This was in a comment made on this blog post titled “A new approach to browser security: the Google Chrome Sandbox“. It seems this is one of the main bottlenecks.

V8
I thought V8 was the culprit for the longest time until I saw this article – “Building and compiling V8 on Mac OS X“.

3) Look and Feel
These is a third and rather weak argument for the delay. Back to the “Platforms and Priorities” post, Amanda Walker, Software Engineer tells us:

One overriding goal we have had from the start has been to build the best browser we can. When it comes to Mac and Linux versions, this means that our goal is not to just “port” a Windows application to these other platforms–rather, our goal is to deliver Chromium’s innovative, Google-style user interface without rough edges on any of them.

Yes, making Chrome feel native to the Mac is important, but does that take six months? I’m not buying it.

image: Google

The Recent Google Knol Furor

Google KnolI’ve been sitting on this one for a while as I read countless reports on “Knol vs. Wikipedia”, “Why [Knol|Wikipedia] is dead”, “Knol has failed”, “Why Didn’t Google Kill Knol?”, etc.

I’m going to keep this one short as a) I see that a lot of people already have already come to conclusion I present below, b) I have a raging cold and want to get back to bed. Check out the comments on “Why Has Knol Survived Google’s Ophan-Killing Spree?“, btw I haven’t even read the article, just the comments.

So here is the deal with Knol:

1) Knol allows you to select New Yorker comics to insert into your Knol for free, WTF? If you are a Seinfeld fan, you’ll appreciate the comedy behing how cryptic these comics are. Well, it turns out Udi Manber is a huge fan. Who is Udi Manber? He is the Google’s VP of Engineering, Core Search.

2) Knol is Udi Manber’s 20%-time project. Udi Manber controls the levers operating Google’s empire, this is important stuff. What Manber wants, Manber gets so this project will never get killed (unless Udi kills it).

3) Udi Manber has a small little goal for Google – “human understanding and intent”. How is this done? Semantics and the semantic web. Manber has been involved in search for a long time and has published many papers and written many applications to harness the power of words/computing to make a better search experience.

4) So the point of Knol? Provide a corpus of structured knowledge to experiment with Manber’s search technologies.

So Knol is not about competing with Wikipedia, it is not about making money for authors or Google via adsense. Google couldn’t care less about these things, they (Manber) want to improve search. Once you can crack the “human intent” nut, search is yours for the taking.

image: Google