Google Chrome, SPDY Protocol, Browser War II

By Xah Lee. Date: . Last updated: .

holy cow! Google Chrome is really changing the landscape of what web browser is.

In Google Chrome, If you click on a mailto link (e.g., it'll popup a window that looks just like a normal email app's compose mail window. The mailto: URI scheme has pretty much been dead since ~2002, but with this Chrome feature, it might revive.

SPDY Protocol

Google is quite powerful today. Not only having their own browser, OS (Google Chrome OS), mobile OS (Android), and gazillion web services, but they are inventing their own protocols.

This is old news, but SPDY. SPDY is a protocol intended to replace HTTP. The interesting part is that it's not just a proposed protocol, but actually used daily when you use Google Chrome to access Google's websites and services. What this means is that, probably sooner or later, others will adopt. Quote:

SPDY is a research project in TCP-based application-level protocol for transporting web content. It is proposed by Google as a replacement for HTTP.

The goal of SPDY is to reduce web page load time. This is achieved by prioritizing and multiplexing the transfer of several files so that only one connection per client is required. All transmissions are SSL encrypted and gzip compressed by design (in contrast to HTTP, the headers are compressed too). Moreover, servers may hint or even push content instead of awaiting individual requests for each resource of a web page.

Google Chrome utilizes SPDY when communicating with Google services, such as Google Search, Gmail, Chrome sync and when serving Google's ads. Google acknowledges that the use of SPDY is enabled in the communication between Chrome and Google's SSL-enabled servers. SPDY sessions can be inspected in Chrome at the special URL [ chrome://net-internals/#events&q=type:SPDY_SESSION%20is:active ] .

Check out that special URL in Chrome.

It's not a wonder, that Google Chrome is faster in general. (among quite a few other reasons.)

Unicode Support

Here is what i think of browser quality with respect to Unicode support: From best to worst: Google Chrome and Opera. Then, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer 8. (All are current public versions of browsers on Windows, as of 2010-12.)

Note that Unicode support in browsers have improved very much in the past 5 years.

(30+ articles on Unicode at: Unicode for Programers: Essays Index and Unicode Search 😄.)

Fractal Viewer

Google made a fractal application, based on Google Maps, at

It's written using JavaScript using Web Workers.

[see JavaScript in Depth]

Though, am rather disappointed. When you zoom in just a few steps, the resolution does not automatically increase enough to get crispy edges.

Much better are some dedicated fractal apps. See: Great Fractal Software.

For a basic explanation of the mandelbrot set, see: Mandelbrot Set Explained (no complex number needed) .

Web Apps, Chrome Web Store

Google recently launched Chrome Web Store, at:

The idea is similar to Apple's hugely successful iPhone iPad App Store. Apple's App Store more or less started a revolution in selling software.

Anyone can write a app and sell it there. This is a new channel for money making. A number of programers has become rich over-night, selling millions of copies of their apps. A lot programers have quit their day-jobs to dedicate their time to their own software. See for example:

One major problem Apple solved is software piracy, by a combination of hardware and centralized distribution channel. If you are a programer, unless you are a big company with lots money to invest in a distribution and encryption scheme, your software will be pirated freely. (and even those from big corps are almost always in piracy networks)

Apple solved the piracy problem also psychologically. The iPhone and iPad you paid for. When you see some app you want, somehow you don't feel it's like traditional software and ask “where do i get a copy”? You simply just buy it right on your iPhone. See: Theodore Gray: Future of Text Book, iPad, Education 📺 .

Google WebGL Apps and Google Body

If you look at some of the apps, they are quite amazing. They use HTML5 tech. They usually just work in Chrome at the moment. Even though the tech is always open source, but other very competitive browsers Firefox, Opera, Safari, usually doesn't do it well yet.

For example, see this WebGL demo from Google. (use Chrome to view.)

Here is all the other WebGL apps:

Google HTML5 Demos

Here is site from Google demo HTML5 tech, for developers. HTML5 truely has lots nice features geared for web apps. . A fancily designed website, that is a kinda educational article for the general public that teaches them what is the web and web technologies, together with some opinions mixed in. A sorta propaganda, from Google. However, it demonstrates what HTML5 can do.

Which Browser Will Win Browser War II?

I think that Google Chrome will be the most popular browser before the end of 2012.

I use 5 browsers DAILY. I'll have to say, Google Chrome today is already the best, all things considered. (i rate Firefox second, Opera 3rd, Safari 4th, IE8 last. (all rating based on my experience on Windows versions))

IE9 Beta is making some noises recently. (to be released probably in a few months) But even if IE9 is fully out today, i think it still have at least a year dev time to catchup with other browsers.

BUY ΣJS JavaScript in Depth