Google launches its own web browser

Google will today launch its own web browser. The new browser, called Chrome, will be initially available for Windows, with Mac and Linux versions to

According to this blog post from Google's Sundar Pichai, Chrome will use components from Firefox and Apple's Webkit, but will be a "fresh take" on the browser.

Chrome is a direct competitor to Microsoft Internet Explorer, Firefox and Apple Safari - but it's designed from the ground up to run today's web applications, and Google believes it will have some significant advantages over rival browsers.

Most importantly, Chrome will be fast and lightweight. The key is the way the browser handles each tab as a separate process - so you can let javascript run in one tab while continuing to browse in another. And if you it a bug, it'll only take down one tab, not your whole browser.

Chrome apparently works in a similar what to today's multi-tasking desktop operating systems, and while that means it'll need more memory up front, it will not succumb to the same memory 'bloat' the make rival browsers slow down over the course of the day.

Like Firefox, Google Chrome will be open source - but its development won't have to rely on long beta tests. Instead, Chrome will benefit from Google's web crawling infrastructure, with 'Chrome Bots' testing new builds on millions of the most popular web pages within days.

The aim is to create a rock solid, secure web browser that looks cool - you can find out more about the technical side of the Chrome project from this rather neat comic strip.

So where does that leave the other browsers? Well, it's certainly another kick in the bytes for Microsoft, which is already reeling from Google's growing dominances of search advertising, not to mention its free Google Docs competitor to the pricey Microsoft Office suite.

But Chrome is also a direct challenge the excellent Firefox browser. It'll be interesting to whether the open source community embraces Chrome or reacts against the increasing dominance of Google.

What do you think? What's your current favourite browser, and will you be willing to switch to Chrome? Or are you worried that Google is taking over your life? Share your thoughts in the comments below