Google’s Chrome browser is now 10 years old

Google first released its Chrome browser 10 years ago today. Marketed as a “fresh take on the browser,” Chrome debuted with a web comic from Google to mark the company’s first web browser. It was originally launched as a Windows-only beta app before making its way to Linux and macOS more than a year later in 2009. Chrome debuted at a time when developers and internet users were growing frustrated with Internet Explorer, and Firefox had been steadily building momentum.

Google used components from Apple’s WebKit rendering engine and Mozilla’s Firefox to help bring Chrome to life, and it made all of Chrome’s source code available openly as its Chromium project. Chrome focused on web standards and respected HTML5, and it even passed both the Acid1 and Acid2 tests at the time of its release. This was a significant step as Microsoft was struggling to adhere to open web standards with its Internet Explorer browser.


Original Chrome logo

Another significant part of Chrome’s first release was the idea of “sandboxing” individual browser tabs so that if one crashed it wouldn’t affect the others. This helped improve the speed and stability of Chrome in general, alongside Google’s V8 JavaScript engine that the company constantly tweaked to try and push the web forwards.

After a decade of Chrome, this browser now dominates as the primary way most people browse the web. Chrome has secured more than 60 percent of browser market share on desktop, and Google’s Chrome engineers continue to improve it with new features and push the latest web standards. Chrome has morphed into more than just a web browser, and you could argue it’s an entire platform that now runs on top of Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and even iOS.


Chrome’s first non-beta release

Chrome now powers Chrome OS, Google’s lightweight operating system for laptops and now tablets. While it might not be totally ready for tablets just yet, Google has been bringing Android apps over to Chrome OS to make its Chromebooks and tablets more useful. Even fully-fledged Linux apps are coming to Chrome OS in the near future, and Chrome is helping push progressive web apps to make web apps a lot better. Chrome hasn’t seen a major redesign in years, but a Material Design Refresh is heading to the browser this month.

Chrome’s future now looks more and more like a platform rather than its humble beginnings as a web browser. There are concerns Chrome is turning into the new Internet Explorer 6 due to its dominance among web developers, and Google’s “works best with Chrome” messaging. As Google engineers continue to steer the very latest web standards and push them into Chrome, other browser makers will need to catch up or be left behind by Google’s rapid iteration. It certainly feels like Chrome has been here a lot longer than 10 years, though. If browsers turned into platforms in just a decade, how might they morph over the next 10 years?

Google search will now highlight useful data journalism from news stories

Google is working with publishers to make it easier to view data journalism in search results, as announced on its blog today. It’s one of the steps Google News Initiative is taking to make data journalism more visible, with the field quickly growing across media. Over half of all newsrooms now have dedicated data journalists, and this feature aims to pinpoint the most useful results from pages containing data tables.

“Data journalism takes many forms, and it’s not always clear from the headline that there is potentially useful data within that document or story,” Google News Lab’s Simon Rogers wrote in today’s blog post. “It isn’t always easy for Google Search to detect and understand tables of data to surface the most relevant results.”

News organizations have the option to add additional structured data to note which parts of their page will be the most relevant in search results. Adding this structured data to the existing HTML of their page, they’ll be able to control how the tables will be presented to readers when searching. One of the early participants is ProPublica, which has been testing the feature with its interactive databases like the Nonprofit Explorer.

The feature is currently in pilot, so search results may not frequently turn up datasets just yet. Developers can look into how to make their datasets more discoverable here.