MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. Google has ported a core part of its new browser to the ARM processor as well as to the x86. Google co-founder Sergey Brin said all or parts of the new Chrome browser could be available for mobile devices such as cellphones within a few months.
Chrome is primarily designed as a PC browser, aiming to deliver significant increases in performance, reliability and security over the competitors including Microsoft's Internet Explorer which dominates the market. However, Chrome—or key pieces of it—are also well suited to mobile systems, developers said at the official roll out at Google headquarters here.
"One way you can use V8 is to gain more performance, but another way is to reduce processor power," said Lars Bak, technical lead for the V8 design at Google.
"If you want to scale back power consumption on mobile devices, V8 can be a good choice," said Bak, who developed two generations of Java VMs while at Sun Microsystems including Hotspot, a standard part of today's Java version 5. "We chose to port V8 early on the ARM processor because it is used in so many mobile devices," he added.
Bak described the V8 compiler as relatively simple, and thus straightforward to port to other processors. "It might take three or four months," he said.
A separate test of the Webkit open source rendering engine in Chrome loaded a test series of static Web pages on average in 77.28 milliseconds per page. By contrast Internet Explorer took an average of 220.64 milliseconds per page.
So far Google has not tried to make significant links between its Chrome team and the separate group developing the Android handset software for mobile phones which includes a mobile browser. But that may change soon.
"They have been sharing some chunks, but these projects have been running in parallel and we didn't want to slow either team down by binding them together," said Sergey Brin, president of technology at Google.
"In another month or two, after they have both come out and we have had time to take a breath, we can think about subsequent versions of Android that may use more elements of Chrome," said Brin. "I could even imagine we may have a Chrome Lite," he added.
Brin added that Android phones are currently being tested.
"We still expect Android phones out by the end of the year," he said. "I have been using them, and they look good."
"We are evolving from a search company to a search, advertising and applications company, and this browser will help us write better Web apps," said Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google.
"By making the browser faster we can generate more traffic and that directly benefits us," said Larry Page, co-founder and president of products at Google. "You can only do so many searches in a day, so if a browser can increase performance you can do more searches and we will gain more revenue," he added.
Chrome is also strategic for Google because it helps drive toward open standards in Web development, mitigating the influence of whatever Microsoft builds into its browser.
"We want to see several browsers out there that are viable alternatives" said Brin. "And we want to see more choices so Web developers feel compelled to develop to open standards," he added.
The added performance also opens the door to new and better Web-based applications from Google and others.
"Some Web apps with compute intensive tasks today send those jobs back to a server, and they are subject to the latency over the network to get results back," said Bak. "With this browser, you could run the whole application on the client."
A beta version of Chrome is available as a 7 Mbyte download that includes support for 43 languages including Korean and Japanese.