Google Launches Web App Store for Chrome Browser

First released as a beta version for Microsoft Windows in September 2008, Google Chrome is a web browser developed by Google that uses the WebKit layout engine and application framework. For a product that was initially opposed by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Chrome has come a long way in the “alternative” (read: non-IE) web browser space.

According to Statcounter, Chrome was the third most used web browser (13%) worldwide as of November 2010, behind Firefox (31%) and ahead of Safari (4.7%). According to Google,

The store will be featured prominently in Chrome, helping people discover great apps and developers reach millions of users around the world,” says Google’s blog, noting that in 2010 alone, “the number of people using Chrome has tripled from 40 to 120 million.”

In no time, the TweetDeck has apparently jumped to the head of the pack:

“In the 3 days since the launch of the Chrome Web Store, our Chrome TweetDeck has had 45,851 users and been installed 62,477 times. To give these numbers some context it’s useful to compare them with the “big boys” of the Web Store such as the New York Times (43,542 users – 56,215 weekly installs) and Gmail (40,783 users – 37,921 weekly installs).”

The current layout is as simple and straightforward as a central repository should be. In the long run, the launch is a positive nod for the developer community, which now has yet another distribution channel for their creations in the form of mobile apps, browser applications, add-ons or themes.

In related (and potentially converging) news, Google has also made the case that “Chrome is enterprise ready,” opened the mobile “App Inventor for Android” to all Google account holders and announced Intel-based Chrome OS notebooks from Acer and Samsung to be available in mid-2011, with Verizon Wireless providing integrated 3G cellular connectivity..

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Is the Google Chrome Browser faster than Internet Explorer in JavaScript performance?

JavaScript Speed in Google Chrome versus Internet Explorer

The latest stable version of Chrome browser at the time this article was written was We will compare it to the current version of IE, which is 8.0.6001.18865. We started with Google’s own benchmark that is hosted at their site and is called V8 Benchmark Suite. The result differed from one machine to another, but the score of the Google browser was always about 38 times higher than the one of IE – very close to the numbers that Google is claiming. Of course, as much we believe in the accuracy of the tests, we wanted to use some independent benchmarking sites, too. After some research, we found some of the major ones are SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark and JSBenchmark. Their tests are a complex mixture of different tasks, including drawing, code decompression, encrypting and operations with arrays, dates and handling exceptions. As we expected, the difference between the two browsers was much smaller compared to Google’s own test, but it was again pretty impressive. The results differed from platform to platform, but overall the “SunSpider” test showed that Chrome is ten times faster, while the “JSBenchmark” reported that it is “only” seven times faster.

JavaScript Speed Test

In order to conclude that Internet Explorer is much slower than Google Chrome in JavaScript performance though, we still needed more facts. As an alternative to the complex and heavy testing suites, we created a very short example with few array operations. We wanted it to be fairly simple and pretty close to real life examples. Basically, this piece of code assigned random numbers to an array of 20,000 items. Then we reversed the order of the elements. In the next two steps we sorted it in ascending and descending order. The script outputs the milliseconds needed for its completion. We did not expect a lot of difference in doing something so basic. Here is the code:

JavaScript Speed Test Source Code

JavaScript Speed Test Results

There were differences from PC to PC as with the other tests, but the tendency stayed the same. The time of completion of the tasks in Chrome was about six times faster than IE. This was the smallest advantage the Google browser had compared to the tests that were run so far, but it sounds pretty prestige for Chrome to have such a boost in performance for a really small task.

In conclusion, we can say that Google Chrome has set new standards for speed as far as JavaScript is concerned. Although the advantage the browser has might not be as big as Google claim in their advertising campaigns, it is something very impressive and gives the users additional speed for simple everyday tasks as we saw in the example above. We are looking forward to see the ninth version of Internet Explorer soon, as in the early discussions the developers show ambition to reach the level of performance that Chrome already has. The acceleration of the JavaScript engines for all the browsers can only bring benefits to users and contribute to the creation of richer, more complex Internet applications.