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What Loads Internet Pages 56 Times Faster Than Internet Explorer? Google Chrome

What Loads Internet Pages 56 Times Faster Than Internet Explorer? Google Chrome

Google's Chrome: The Danish Magic Inside

By Jennifer L. Schenker | BusinessWeek

The engineering team soon outgrew the stable and moved to office space at Aarhus University. There, Bak and a dozen other engineers worked in stealth mode to build a new JavaScript engine for Chrome, code-named V8, that was based on open-source software and designed from the ground up for speedy performance.

“Lars’ experience in this area made him the ideal person to work on this ambitious, significant project,” says Nelson Mattos, Google’s vice-president of engineering for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. “V8 is the key to Chrome’s remarkable speed, and because it’s open source, it’s also a contribution to browser technology in general.”

Raising the Bar

Experts agree that the speed of the engine that Bak and his team designed is one of Chrome’s key differentiators. In the short term, according to tech consultancy Gartner (IT), the new browser’s success will be measured by whether it delivers a superior user experience for JavaScript-intensive applications, such as Google’s Gmail. But the ultimate test is whether Chrome’s appeal will extend beyond early adopters to mainstream enterprise customers—a chasm that other challengers such as Firefox and Apple’s Safari haven’t yet crossed in dominant numbers.

One thing is for sure. Chrome is expected to achieve what Bak set out to do: raise the bar for the whole industry. Press reports have estimated Chrome to be as much as 56 times faster than Internet Explorer at running Java programs. Bak is cagey about Chrome’s performance compared with rivals because it depends on which benchmarks are used. Plus, competing browsers are also evolving rapidly; indeed, some reports already claim that a new JavaScript engine in Firefox outperforms V8. “Competitors will catch up,” says Sheri McLeish, an analyst at technology consultancy Forrester Research (FORR). “Whenever there are new entrants it ups the ante.”

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As for Bak, he is still at work in Denmark, continuing to tinker with Chrome’s engine to make it better. The office at Aarhus University doesn’t offer any of the perks that Google is famous for, such as free haircuts and gourmet meals. But living in the Danish countryside and commuting on his bike to a job with one of Silicon Valley’s most successful companies is all the reward he needs, Bak says. That, and potentially changing the whole way people use computers and the Internet.

Discussion: What Browser/Email Client Do You Use?

Schenker is a BusinessWeek correspondent in Paris.

Courtesy of © 2008 YellowBrix, Inc.

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