Google showcases Javascript engine with Chrome Experiments website

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Google’s speedy V8 Javascript engine is already hailed as Chrome’s biggest competitive advantage. While other browsers also pack byte-code Javascript interpreters, Chrome is better-positioned to ultimately take this market given Google’s decision to write its code from scratch. This zero bloat, no legacy solution is very promising, but what it really needs now is some killer app to drive it home. Enter Chrome Experiments…

Chicago (IL) – Google’s speedy V8 Javascript engine is already hailed as Chrome’s biggest competitive advantage. While other browsers also pack byte-code Javascript interpreters, Chrome is better-positioned to ultimately take this market given Google’s decision to write its code from scratch. This zero bloat, no legacy solution is very promising, but what it really needs now is some killer app to drive it home. Enter Chrome Experiments


Chrome Experiments is a new website Google’s setup to showcase experimental, performance-hungry Javascript applications that run great in Chrome. Google said: This is not “your mother’s Javascript.” The initial offering is limited to several interactive applications, cool games and interesting technology examples, but anyone can post their own Chrome-optimized Javascript experiments as well.

While it is possible to run these examples in other browsers, the fact that developers optimized the code for Chrome’s V8 engine make them run slower (or they don’t run at all). Google said, “We recommend you launch this experiment in Google Chrome. It may run slower, or not at all, in other browsers.” Google is highlighting the best applications on Chrome Experiments, and plans to hold sessions on Google Chrome at Google I/O on May 27-28 in San Francisco, California.

 

The new weapon in market share wars

The search monster hopes Chrome Experiments will attract broader attention from web developers who will (hopefully) begin optimizing their code for Chrome. These demos could positively affect other browser vendors as well, motivating them to work harder on improving their own Javascript engine performance. Of course, Google is betting Chrome Experiments would eventually increase the availability of Chrome-optimized sites. That, in turn, could make more users switch to Chrome — and consequentially increase its web usage share that still floats slightly above 1 percent mark.

Whichever way you look at it, Chrome Experiments is an interesting new idea in the market share wars. It remains to be seen if the site will yields wanted results.

 

It’s all about speed

The so-called byte-code Javascript interpreters employ an optimization technique that takes long, human-readable natural language-based instructions inside web pages and turns them into a shortened internal representation that’s optimized for run-time execution. As a result of this run-time conversion, complex Javascript-based sites like Facebook, Gmail and modern enterprise web applications run noticeably faster with more responsive user interfaces.

When developers tweak their code for a specific browser’s Javascript engine, speed gains can be even more substantial — albeit limited only to the browser platform that runs the Javascript engine in question. And such optimizations may require a slowdown in other browsers, resulting in a carefully balanced tradeoff decision by the developer: Do I cater to higher performance of one browser, but then sacrifice my app’s performance on another?

There are only a few browser-specific optimized Javascript sites in existence today. However, the huge speed gains may justify the extra developer work. For instance, a provider of Enterprise 2.0 Human Capital Management solutions has recently released a new Chrome-optimized version of its RecruitingCRM software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution. As a result, the software’s Rules Engine delivers a 300% increase in the processing of complex queries in the Chrome browser. [Editor’s note: Were the app to use an ActiveX plug-in instead of optimized Javascript, the speedup could be 10x greater still, but would be limited to browsers which support it — desktop browser.]

CHROME EXPERIMENTS: SHOWCASING THE POWER OF GOOGLE’S V8 ENGINE
Chromeexperiments.com is a new website created by Google to post experimental Javascript examples hand-optimized for Chrome’s V8 engine. Google hopes the site will showcase V8’s power, stimulating web developers to optimize more sites for Chrome, and giving users more reason to upgrade to the browser.

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