Google launches a browser? Oh no! (maybe)

"Cool," was the first reaction one of our Web designers had to the news that Google released Chrome, its very own browser.

But that was followed by a disappointed "Ohhhh," as he realized there was now Yet Another Browser that will need to be tested each time we do any site redesign or heavily designed special pages.

Another of our designers was more blunt, asking why the world needs still another browser to display HTML and CSS just slightly differently than all the others.

Will it? We don't know yet. Meanwhile, that sound you hear is a collective gnashing of teeth among Web designers contemplating even the possibility coding workarounds to get Yet Another Browser to display as desired.

In the best-case scenario, Google's Chrome will render pages exactly like an already existing one. Even better, like one that has measurable market share (i.e., not something like Opera). Best guess on that would be Safari, since Chrome uses the same open-source rendering engine, WebKit. However, because WebKit is open source, we don't know yet whether Google has modified that code at all.

Google's posting announcing Chrome says that the browser's creators "used components from Apple's WebKit and Mozilla's Firefox, among others," so it's unclear if Google displays pages pretty much like one of those browsers, or has quirks of its own. After all, as we've learned over the years, saying you follow Web standards isn't necessarily the same as actually following Web standards.

If Chrome catches on, the best-case scenario means that here, we'll have to QA pages on Chrome in addition to IE 6 & IE 7 on the PC, Firefox 2 & 3 on the PC, Firefox 2 & 3 on the Mac and Safari on the Mac.

But if Chrome has some rendering "improvements" -- and with Google's market clout, I wouldn't be surprised if their engineers yielded to such temptations -- it could be considerably more than that.

We should know more soon once we've had more time to test drive Chrome.

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