One year ago, Google Chrome came out of nowhere to re-ignite the browser debate. Today, it’s reached (development) version 4.0 and it’s anchoring a much-anticipated operating system. Here’s a look back at where Chrome’s been in 12 short months.
Sept. 1-4: The Surprisingly Secret Birth
Not too many marquee tech products, hardware or software, are developed in secret anymore. Still, when Chrome was officially announced on September 1, 2008, with a beta available the next day, it caught most of the tech world completely unawares. Had the Google Blogoscoped blog’s Phillip Lenssen not accidentally received and posted the Chrome team’s explanatory comic, the Chrome developers and Wired’s would-be exclusive would have been the first words on the newest browser around.
Sept. 5-18: Let’s get tweaking
Sept. 15: Unofficial arrival on Mac OS X and Linux
Sept. 19: The beginning of “Extensions are coming; where are extensions?”
Sept. 22: Chrome as Operating System? Preposterous!
We pointed to a Doc Searls thought piece on how Chrome, Gears and the Android system “delivers on Netscape’s promise of the browser as operating system, with online-and-off webapps replacing desktop workhorses”.
Oct. 19: Rudimentary Greasemonkey, ahoy!
Nov. 3-Dec. 10: Bookmarks and baby steps
Dec. 11-Jan. 8: Chrome leaves beta, Google pushes the heck out of it
Feb. 26: Chrome wins some qualifying races
Mar. 17-22: New beta brings the speed (and extensions?)
Mar. 23: User scripts make Chrome “Better”
Mar. 30-Apr. 7: That Mac beta? Coming “this fall”
That’s what Google tells Ars Technica, noting they’d be “very unhappy” if it didn’t drop by then. Less than a week later, a rough, unofficial Chromium build drops.
Apr. 24: Welcome to the club
Chrome pushes out an instant security update to all channels to fix a “high-priority security hole”, meaning it’s now officially a second-rate target of ingenious/mischievous 14-year-olds.
May 7-27: Sample extensions, speed and a portable version
June 5: Mac and Linux alphas Google doesn’t want you to download
July 8: Chrome OS announced
July 31-Aug. 10: Little, helpful tweaks
Linux gets plug-in support, while Windows gets better Windows 7 support, HTML 5 updates and Windows 7 jumplist features. Chrome on Windows and Mac gets 30 new easy-install themes.
Aug. 17: Google, Xmarks both want to synchronise your bookmarks
Last 48 hours
And the news keeps on coming, one year later. Google’s development chatter indicates a desktop notification scheme, Chrome for Windows adds a bookmark button and the appearance of a single folder causes bloggers to wonder if Chrome OS will have a single, monolithic sign-in.