Leaking word of a new web browser on Labor Day in the U.S. is somewhere between brilliant and antagonizing. As a web analyst, I wonder how are we going to identify the new browser and aggregate user activity in web metrics. As a web user, I am curious how this fits in to the increasingly social and image-intensive nature of the web. And what, if anything, will this prevent me from doing in my browser that I can do today?

Blogoscoped.com, an unoffical Google blog, broke the story of the new browser. They posted the Scott McCloud comic book that was mailed to introduce the new browser.

Blogoscoped.com calls out a few of the features of Chrome:

  • The new open source browser will include Google Gears which is designed to, according to Google, let web applications “better interact with your desktop”.
  • There will be a new “built-from-the-ground-up” JavaScript Virtual Machine called V8. Blogoscoped quotes Google as using a “multi-process design” to free up more memory up front and prevent memory bloat.
  • Move the tabs from the above the content area of the browser to the upper side of the window. From other sources, this could mean more real estate to the content window. Think of it as hitting F11 on your browser. But there is more: Each tab will run its own process. If one tab crashes, only that tab stops working.
  • Forget the search box, it’s the Omnibox. It’s a good thing I just wrote about the move of users to use the search bar as their primary navigation!
  • The default home page serves as an Opera-like “speed-dial” showing thumbnails of the nine most visited sites as well as recently closed tabs.
  • A privacy mode that Google says “…nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer.”
  • Web apps can be launched in their own browser tab without address bar or toolbar.
  • Malware and phishing attempts are monitored by frequently updated lists within Chrome.

Still unanswered is how will eCommerce carts function within some of the modes of Chrome. How will existing JavaScript based analytics packages function in Chrome? No doubt, social media growth is a big part of the future, but what will work and what will need “the Google touch” to continue to work – if anything – is unclear.

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