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Chrome is emerging as third major player in the browser market

At its peak in 2003, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) controlled over 94 percent of the browser market.  Inspired to "free" the world's internet access from the control of one single company, the Mozilla Foundation launched the open source browser Firefox in 2004, a browser which would offer Microsoft its first serious challenge since Netscape Navigator.  And in 2008, Google Inc. (GOOG), makers of the world's most popular search engine, released a second serious open source -- "Chrome".

Today Chrome has an estimated 18.9 percent of the market [source] and is the world's fastest growing browser (Firefox has 20.9 percent, Microsoft's Internet Explorer owns 52.8 percent).

Google this week announced the release of the 18th edition of its popular browser.  Available on every major personal computer platform -- Windows, Linux, and even Macs -- the new version brings fancier graphics and a number of bug fixes.

Google continues to pay top dollar to security researchers for finding flaws in its browser.  It awarded miaubiz, Chamal de Silva, Atte Kettunen of OUSPG, Aki Helin of OUSPG and Arthur Gerkis personal thanks and a bounty of $8,000 USD for helping it fix its flaws.

Serious flaws in OpenType and Skia handling were fixed.  Five "medium" priority handling errors were also patched.

Bugfixes aside, the new release brings GPU acceleration to Canvas2D, a key emerging web standard, which allows for beautiful 2D animations without proprietary standards.  The new releases also adds TransGaming's SwiftShader engine, which allows 3D web graphics based on the WebGL standard.

SwiftShader
SwiftShader is is seen here running 3D Mark '03.  The engine allows for 3D graphics on the web, and has been added exclusively to Google's popular Chrome browser.
[Image Source: TransGaming]

For those looking to get their 3D web gaming on, Google does caution, "Keep in mind that a software-backed WebGL implementation is never going to perform as well as one running on a real GPU, but now more users will have access to basic 3D content on the web."

Sounds like GPU acceleration of WebGL is still a work in progress.

The upgrade also includes a new version of Adobe Systems Inc.'s (ADBE) Flash multimedia platform, which contains bug fixes and performance upgrades of its own.

Sources: Google [1], [2], TransGaming



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I switched to Chrome a year ago and never looked back
By Hulk on 3/30/2012 10:24:02 AM , Rating: 1
After using various versions of Internet Explorer for the last 15 years it took me a few days to become acclimated to Chrome. But after that the speed of it loading and how fast it loaded webpages made it impossible to go back.
If any developer can get GPU acceleration reliably working in a browser I'd be on Google.




By Makaveli on 3/30/2012 10:49:29 AM , Rating: 3
"If any developer can get GPU acceleration reliably working in a browser I'd be on Google."

FF and IE have had Gpu acceleration for years now or am I missing something?


By JasonMick (blog) on 3/30/2012 11:16:44 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
"If any developer can get GPU acceleration reliably working in a browser I'd be on Google."

FF and IE have had Gpu acceleration for years now or am I missing something?

It's hard to explain ... in terms of look and feel Google is EXTREMELY clean and just feels much more responsive.

I had written it off myself after testing several of the early buggier users.

I was a longtime Firefox user in the 2.0-3.0 era. Then I transitioned to Opera for 10-11 and was a staunch support of the Norwegian browsermaker for some time. Opera was super fast, but some webpages (particularly a couple I commonly used) supported it less well then Firefox, so I eventually went back and tried both Firefox and Chrome to end this annoyance.

What I discovered was that Chrome has become about as stable as Firefox, while being much faster, fully compatible with nearly every webpage, looking far cleaner, and even now supporting extensions fully.

I've been onboard Chrome ever since. I've played with Opera and Firefox every few months (and even IE 9!), but always found the experience inferior to Chrome's latest version.


By JasonMick (blog) on 3/30/2012 11:17:25 AM , Rating: 3
*'s/users/versions/g'


By Sivar on 3/31/2012 6:12:38 PM , Rating: 2
also 's/then/than/g' (case sensitive)


By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2012 3:47:32 PM , Rating: 1
Chrome is faster by like 5-10 milliseconds. Not sure if that's enough of a difference to provide a tangible "feel" difference.

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hardware/the-big-browser...

They also stupidly didn't disclose if their test machine was running a HDD or SSD. Which I think is important to know. On my SSD Firefox is absurdly fast and responsive, even with all the mods and addons running.

Safari and Opera however are consistently slower, by VERY large margins. Not surprising really.


By TSS on 3/30/2012 6:43:57 PM , Rating: 2
Not just faster, it uses a heck of alot less memory.

Now that might not sound important in this day and age but i've personally converted atleast 1 person from firefox to chrome cause for him, memory was still an issue. According to him it was 150mb for firefox and 55mb for chrome (though he just switched over so that might skew results a little).

Also, it boots up faster, besides loading webpages faster. I also love the clean interface, though it takes some getting used to. Even for people who like toolbars, there's more room for toolbars.

It used to launch 5-6 processes, which was my only caveat (i like a neat task manager, svchost started creeping me out around XP). But as i check now with 2 tabs open it's only 3, so they cut that down appearantly.

To me, switching from firefox to chrome felt exactly like switching from IE6 to mozilla. Sans the security issues, ofcourse. I'm sure i'll feel the same way in a couple of years when chrome has become bloated and i switch to the next browser. Though i'm willing to go back to firefox if they cut back on legacy support and rewrite the engine for the modern web.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/30/2012 7:51:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not just faster, it uses a heck of alot less memory.


Gotta watch those blanket statements :)

Here is an absolute head-dizzying avalanche of benchmarks. But if you're using Windows 7, apparently Firefox wins in most tests. I'm not seeing excessive memory usage here. In fact the more tabs you have open, the more efficient Firefox becomes versus Chrome.

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/chrome-17-fire...


By lyeoh on 3/31/2012 2:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
I find Firefox generally uses less memory and leaks less for the same set of pages.

BUT the big difference AND the most important difference is with Chrome if you close the offending tab/window the leaked memory is usually freed up. This is because of the Chrome's more process based model - Chrome or chrome extensions don't have to be perfect or even near perfect - if the PC starts swapping the user closes the tab - the memory is freed, all is good again.

That does not happen with Firefox when something leaks badly (bug in extension or whatever)- you have to close the entire browser. Yes it's not directly Firefox's fault if an extension leaks. But the user doesn't care. All he knows is he has to close the entire browser, and typically lose sessions in other tabs/windows.

Firefox is getting better - the leaking (in browser and extensions that I use) has reduced over the versions. But it was really bad before.


By Reclaimer77 on 3/31/2012 4:02:14 PM , Rating: 2
How would the average user know which tab is "leaking" in Chrome so they could close the offending tab? I think in both cases you would have to close the entire browser anyway. Or am I missing something?


By leexgx on 3/31/2012 7:02:58 PM , Rating: 2
stupid phone (opera mini crashed) lost what I was posting

tools , options , task manager , sort by CPU or RAM depending what's the problem is (nice to know what site is maxing the CPU or RAM out, if you find them press tools and find the report site problem as Google are quite fast at fixing it)


By Reclaimer77 on 3/31/2012 7:34:00 PM , Rating: 2
I said "average" person lol. The average person barely knows what a task manager is.


By thurston2 on 4/1/2012 9:09:49 AM , Rating: 2
The "average" person is not going to look for leaking tabs so your question is stupid.


By leexgx on 4/1/2012 2:35:34 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, all they care is that its not working or slow

but you can't get any simpler then what I posted (tool, options , task manager , you can't get any simpler then that as Chrome will pop-up an box if an tab gets stuck or crashes )


By geddarkstorm on 3/30/2012 11:46:04 AM , Rating: 2
That's hardware acceleration of page loading and image displaying (basically browser window drawing, making the browser a "GPU" app), from what I understand. Something all three major browsers have had for a long time now, and all added to themselves at basically the same time.

What this article is about is accelerating new graphics standards for 2D and 3D content virtualized within the browser window. That's at least how I understand it. It's something new, and has nothing to do with the "hardware acceleration" of the browser itself that everyone added half a year ago.


By Hulk on 3/30/2012 12:07:24 PM , Rating: 2
For me IE is so slow to load (drive churns forever) and pages load so slowly that the inclusion of GPU acceleration is somewhat silly. I guess I'd written it off long ago. I waited for 15 years for them to lean it down and speed it up. And it just never happened. Chrome is like lightning. In fact I have an old PIII based laptop that is usable for browsing solely because of the existence of Chrome.


By kleinma on 3/30/2012 1:07:10 PM , Rating: 2
Chrome, Firefox, and IE9 all perform the same on my machine. I can not tell any time difference in page loads or renderings.


By Omega215D on 3/30/2012 6:07:01 PM , Rating: 2
Same here. IE is quite fast as is Firefox. Chrome gives me annoying issues with youtube videos or shockwave all together, sometimes crashing with just 3 tabs of videos. Not sure if it was fixed in 18.


By Darksurf on 4/2/2012 3:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
IE is closed source garbage. It isn't just about speed, but quality of code, security, and possibilities. Firefox is great, but needs to clean up the old code. Chrome is fresh clean code, but doesn't have all the kinks worked out. Both are acceptable in terms of security. Both have great plugins. I don't ever have issues with chrome, but then again I use chromium (Open Source version before being given a release number and packaged by google) on linux.


By rudolphna on 3/30/2012 11:57:41 AM , Rating: 2
Chrome is great, and I use it regularly, but another good browser anymore is Opera- I like it because it's fast, it looks good, and it has the best built-in IRC client ever. Not just built in, it's the best IRC client I've ever seen.


By phatboye on 3/30/2012 2:01:42 PM , Rating: 2
Opera is ok but there is nothing special at all about it's IRC client.


By stardude692001 on 3/31/2012 2:00:49 AM , Rating: 2
I switched from FF a couple years ago and I like chrome but It has a terrible bookmark system, you have to open a blank tab and then hunt for your bookmark, does anyone know if there is some way to get a FF or IE style bookmark button that opens a plane on the side of your browser?


What I want is GPU rendering not acceleration
By RufusM on 3/30/2012 11:38:53 AM , Rating: 1
with butter smooth scrolling and no text blur.




By DarkUltra on 4/1/2012 11:01:10 AM , Rating: 2
So only Canvas2D and WebGL is accelerated? I find scrolling pages, for instance a lolcat image search with gooogle full of images, very fluid with IE9.

I hope the Explorer.exe and the rest of Windows 8 would be hardware accellerated.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ay-gqx18UTM

this is especially noticable on a 120hz monitor
http://jooh.no/index.php/2012/01/05/lg-w2363d-120h...


Not Always Better
By Starcub on 3/30/2012 11:44:52 AM , Rating: 2
I've noticed that the new updates that incorporate the 2D canvass acceleration feature tend to add delay to graphics that don't incorporate 2D animations.




Loonnggg way to go
By B3an on 3/30/12, Rating: 0
RE: Loonnggg way to go
By Devenish on 3/30/2012 12:54:23 PM , Rating: 2
Flash can do it however Adobe is asking 9% cut of profits for those extra premium features and this will be an obstacle for developers accepting this strategy.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/167552/Will_Fla...

Compare that to say Unity3D (also supports Flash) offers their own web plug-in for a some time that's cost is factored into the existing SDK and perhaps other engines may fallow with similar methods.

Ultimately WebGL does need to mature as this will be the end game solution.


Ahhh the good days
By slim142 on 3/31/2012 12:32:47 PM , Rating: 2
Ever since I started using the internet (IE 4.0) I never bothered trying other browsers. This started over 10 years ago.

When Firefox was in 1.9.2 and the 2.0 era, I gave it a few tries since it started becoming popular in school, but never liked it. I never needed other plugin than flash and IE worked fine.

However, the day when IE reached 7.0 came. I had a nice Core 2 Duo computer and for two weeks, it froze and crashed so much I GOT PISSED. Sometimes 10 tabs would close for no reason and I would feel like shooting the PC.

Gave another try to firefox which by then was in 2.2 or maybe 3.0, cant recall. Still couldnt get used to it. Didnt feel comfortable and looked too similar to IE.

Then within a few days, Chrome 0.2.249.0 came out as early beta release and I have not looked back at anything else since that day. When you see the progress done after 18 (stable) releases, I can really say, Thanks Google. Works, simple, fast, reliable, fast, nice UI, fast, a lot of apps/plugins by now and most importantly, FAST.




Comparison
By macca007 on 3/31/2012 9:31:33 PM , Rating: 2
Have tried them all and IE wins for me, Others seem cluttered with features I won't ever use.
As for it being slow I have no idea what some of you are talking about IE is almost instant for me, Maybe your net connection or pc is too slow to begin with?
Memory issues are a thing of the past, Should not be running out of memory just by using a web browser,Ram is so cheap there is no excuse really.
IE is by no means perfect either,There is still the odd web page that has compatibility issues once in a while, But all in all it's like comparing a Ford,Toyota or Holden(GM) they are all about the same just with a different bumper shape!




WebGL
By vXv on 4/1/2012 5:10:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sounds like GPU acceleration of WebGL is still a work in progress.


Well no. The point of using swiftshader is to support it even when the system does not provide hardware acceleration (no driver, crappy gpu). Mozilla is planning to do the same using llvmpipe a software renderer.




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