Jeff Mesnil
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Google Browser and Alchemy

September 21, 2004

There's been some noise concerning an eventual web browser from Google. Most bloggers bet on a Gecko-based HTML browser with features specific to Google applications (such as Gmail, Picasa or Blogger). If what Google targets is a Google-branded Firefox with specific extensions, I'm highly unimpressed. We can already get most of this stuff quite conveniently and I don't see any added values. The Google brand won't be enough to make me switch from neither Firefox nor Safari.

However if you take into account Adam Bosworth, things may get more interesting. A Web Browser from Google would be a perfect fit for Adam's Alchemy project (Alchemy is in fact a BEA project but Adam was the driving force behind it).

From that perspective, there seems to be a lot more potential for a Google Web Browser. One of the advantage I see is that it could simplify and make it possible to get a push-based Web that Adam envisions. If you look at Gmail, Google has already started to push information to the browser, I almost never update Gmail web page because it is refreshed often enough that I got my mails already sitting in the Inbox. What's more, it is not a big "Refresh" with all the page being reloaded, they use XmlHttpRequest to only update the relevant portions of the page.

Frankly, I don't see all the potential that Alchemy can bring to the Web experience but I'd really like to learn more about it.

p.s.: Sometimes I feel that my weblog is dedicated only to Google! I definitely need to post some Java ramblings...