Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Google Chrome Comic Book art by Scott McCloud

Not sure if any of you have checked out Google Chrome yet.  It is basically a new open source web browser with several innovations like a privacy mode and multi-threaded tabbed browsing.  I downloaded it today and have been using it almost exclusively since then.  Which is pretty impressive considering how much I love Firefox!

Why try out a new browser when I was happy with my old one?  Was it because of the technical merits? Well, I am impressed with some of the technology behind it.  Honestly though, it is the fact that they created a comic book justification for it.

I mentioned that Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics changed the entire way I look at the medium of comics.  One of the things Scott bemoans in Understanding Comics is that comic are pretty much seen as only capable of producing stories about adolescent power fantasies (i.e. superheroes).  Manga shows us that there is nothing inherit in the comic medium that prevents us from telling all-manner of stories.  Instead of just superheroes, why not write police dramas, romances, historical fiction, situation comedies, and even non-fiction?  Seriously, a lot of potential is being wasted.

Scott even mentions how the potential of comics as an instructional tool is often overlooked.  An example of comics being used that way are the "comics" in airplanes that explain how to put on air masks, assume crash position, etc.  Sadly, comics are almost never used this way.

When I saw Google had released a comic book about why they created Chrome, I was very intrigued.  Within the first couple of pages I thought, "Wow, whoever did this certainly read Understanding Comics".  I am embarrassed to say I did not recognize that Scott McCloud was actually doing the art for the comic until I was half-way in!

Since Google sent some work to one of my comic creating heroes, I figured the least I could do was try out their product.

I have to admit it is way better than I expected for a beta product.  Heck, it's better then some mature browsers.  Like Safari.

Yeah, you heard me Apple.  Watch your back.


Bronz said...

Gonna have to say here that Chrome actually uses some Safari technology from what I read yesterday.

I'm glad some sort of browser war is back. I also hope that Google doesn't take out their support for Firefox. It seems as though that is in tact, however, as Google is supporting it through 2011 at least (recent signed agreement).

Medraut said...

Chrome uses the Webkit framework for its codebase, which is the same framework that Safari uses. Webkit evolved from the Open Source Konquerer KHTML engine.

Some other platforms that use the Webkit framework include Adobe Air and the Symbian browser.

Of course, since Chrome is open source, that means that any of these other webkit browsers could incorporate Chrome innovations into their browsers.

Honestly, I think he main reason Google has thrown it's hat into the browser arena is to help push Google Gears (which allows online applications to be used offline) and for use on their Android-based smartphones (well, a version of it at least).

Bronz said...

That's exactly what I meant.

In any case, I think Chrome is just about taking Microsoft out (or at least down a peg). With both Chrome and Firefox, I think Google is just aiming at the 800lb gorilla that does nothing for innovation, but is great at "killing competition and stealing their stuff".

Medraut said...

Interestingly enough, I think that both Google Gears and Adobe Air have the potential to harm Microsoft a great deal in the long run.

The premise behind both technologies is to take the web experience and make it work locally as seamlessly as possible. This is essential as Google has a lot of great products that are stuck in th Cloud right now.

Of course the Cloud has the advantage that you can access it anywhere you have Internet access. The down side is that currently you absolutely need that access. The buisness man stuck in a small airport with no Internet access can't compose e-mails or work on a spreadsheet if you are using G-Mail or Google Docs.

This is one of the factors slowing adoption of Cloud based by corporations (even small ones, which would benefit the most). Google Gears solves this issue by allowing the apps a presence on the desktop that syncs seemlessly with your online experience. The ability to work locally on a Google docs spreadsheet (for example), and know that next time you are online it will sync up seamlessly would be a Godsend.

Adobe Air does the same thing for Adobe products. I have used some Air products and I have to admit they work pretty well.

This is the way to beat Microsoft in the long run. Not trying to knock them out of the desktop space directly. Rather, to make the Desktop OS irrelevant. These browser based apps mean that it hardly matters whether you are using Windows, Apple, or Linux.

Of course, it is still quite a way off until the OS becomes completely irrelevant. Some applications, like high-end gaming, require too many resources to run this way. But it may be sooner than we think. Has anyone here checked out Adobe's Photoshop Online? It's seriously cool and I never thought they would pull that off as a cloud app!

Ah well, that is probably enough technology ranting from me for the moment.

Bronz said...

Agreed. Everything Google is doing is based off that general direction. Chrome is assuredly just the basis, the engine of the car of destruction, of what is to come. If they can get it stable, and use less resources, I think it will take off.

I do have to disagree with you on one thing though. There is never enough technology ranting.

Unknown said...

from my point of view as I've never truly jumped into the browser war until now, I'm trying to give chroma a fair shake.

Firefox never caught my interest, it just didn't seem to meet my personal tastes for some reason, & the last browser war I really paid any attention to was the one between IE & Netscape, & we all know how well that turned out for netscape.

I must be one of the few people that generally doesn't mind the Microsoft Empire providing my access to the electronic world amongst the group of friends I have. it may be that I'm usually a little further away from the bleeding edge of the tech than they tend to be (for instance, my first real long term experience with Vista was with a PC that came with SP 1 already installed, as opposed to having to deal with it day 1). this probably has led to my less aggressive stance concerning Bill & his little world domination plan.

that being said, I'm willing to give chrome a shot & see how it works with what I'm going to be using the net for, mainly some non intrusive web surfing, a browser game here & there, & remotely attending a D&D game by watching a live stream & using a teleconference program. I'm not really expecting to see much of a difference in my web experience really but if there's enough to bug me, I might just sidle on back to IE.

never can tell tho.. chrome might end up impressing me for no good reason (like getting a zoom feature for their page views, nudge nudge)

I can't delete this said...

I haven't checked it out yet, but I can't imagine it will stink with all the "uber" talent that walked off from Microsoft to "Google" because they were pissed about 3-5 year gaps between shipping things..

Read the "Shipping Software" blog post at: http://mark-lucovsky.blogspot.com/ this guy was a biggie at MS and, well, it's self explanatory..

Per the Scott McCloud illustrations, I thought it was him, and I too was changed by reading his "Comics" series.

I haven't read the latest "Making Comics" yet, and can't imagine ever reading Zot or any of his comics, but I LOVE his take on things in his "understanding" series. It's a must read for anyone doing anything remotely creative.