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How the Google Chrome Browser Works


Google's New Approach to the Web
Google envisions everything you do on the computer being accomplished through Web applications like Google Docs running within a browser interface.
Google envisions everything you do on the computer being accomplished through Web applications like Google Docs running within a browser interface.
©2008 HowStuffWorks

When Google launched the Chrome browser in 2008, it was dramatically different from the big two of the time: Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox. Both of these browser giants packed the tops of their windows with buttons and menus for searching subjects, reloading pages, managing bookmarks, printing pages and other actions you might want to take while you're on the Web. You could even add more features to these browsers to customize your browsing experience.

With the Chrome browser, Google took a completely different approach to the browsing experience. Google's vision for Chrome has been to turn the Web browser from a passive means of viewing and listening to information to an interactive portal optimized for Web apps. To accomplish that, Google needed to make Chrome more streamlined, with less emphasis on the browser itself and more emphasis on the power of the Web [source: Chrome].

Web users were already familiar with the simplicity of Google's home page: a big white page with the Google logo, a simple text box for entering search terms and a couple of buttons to launch the search. The Chrome browser reflects that same simplicity. Chrome has a window with the Web page itself and two toolbars: an address bar with the four most commonly used control buttons (back, forward, reload, and home) and a bookmarks bar for managing links to the sites you visit most. Chrome's only built-in menus are its settings menu, accessible using the small wrench icon on the far right, and an "Other bookmarks" menu for bookmarks not shown on your toolbar.

As of this writing, nearly three years following the first Chrome release, Chrome has maintained its simplicity. It also prompted IE and Firefox to simplify their own interfaces. As with IE and Firefox, you can add more features to the Chrome browser by installing extensions. We'll take a closer look at extensions later alongside a more unique Chrome feature: apps from the Chrome Web Store. You can install and use these apps in your Chrome browser the same way you might install apps on your iPhone, iPad or Android mobile device.

Now that you know Chrome's primary goal, let's look at how you can integrate the browser into your user experience.