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TMFMileHigh (74.52)

Google Chrome is not a browser

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September 02, 2008 – Comments (14) | RELATED TICKERS: GOOGL , MSFT

 

It's an operating system. I say this because Chrome has a feature that's extremely desirable for a cloud computing user environment: multiprocessing, which is designed to shut off troublesome browser bugs without shutting down the browser itself. 

Multiprocessing or multitasking explains how modern computer operating systems -- especially Linux -- handle so much data without constantly crashing. Tasks are handled simultaneously, parsed into chunks that can be crunched in parallel. And when data can't be crunched? Quit the process instead of the OS. On a Mac, this is called "Force Quit." (Not sure what to call the Windows equivalent.)

Here's my point: Cloud computing depends on transforming the Web into a giant operating system that possesses the security and stability we demand from Windows, the Mac, Linux, and so on. No one expects this will happen soon; it's a process of gradual improvement. Chrome, with multiprocessing, appears to be a gradual improvement.

FWIW and Foolish best,

Tim (TMFMileHigh)

Disclosure: I own shares of Google and its 2010 LEAPs.

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On September 04, 2008 at 12:12 PM, zgreenwell (80.00) wrote:

This is also a feature in IE8 beta 2, availible now.

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#2) On September 04, 2008 at 2:37 PM, thbirdrock (30.31) wrote:

Admittedly a novice in both investing and computing but my initial experience with Chrome was a blast. GOOG is one tech stock that despite the cost per share I'd consider buying, and it would have to be 1-2 shares based on my "allocation" standards. Thanks for the good info

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#3) On September 04, 2008 at 4:13 PM, TMFMileHigh (74.52) wrote:

 

>> This is also a feature in IE8 beta 2, availible now.

Thanks, zgreenweil. Good to know. I've also seen a movement afoot to make Silvelight more useful in creating offline applications a la Adobe's AIR.

 Foolish best,

Tim (TMFMileHigh)

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#4) On September 06, 2008 at 11:12 AM, saurabhprasad (97.96) wrote:

Tim, as a developer, I disagree.

I can tell you that multi-threading is nothing new on an application level. We have been using it for years to write applications and build websites. There is no technical limitation to creating threads within an application instance, except the amount of memory. So, I disgaree that Chrome is doing anything big in that space.

ALL, I say ALL, operating system do multi-threading and multiprocessing - else you wouldn't be able to play music, download and write at the same time.

The limitation of operating systems has been inability to use multiple processsors - distinct processors to swap the hundreds of threads between the two. The best the OSs can do today is dual processing. Quad prcoessing is an elaborate marketing gimmick as almost no application is coded to use that many processors.

Chrome does multithread processing, which is great, but it doesn't further the cause of an application using multiple processors. It is still running those threads within one processor made available by the Windows OS.

Cloud computing needs the ability to do processing between hundreds or more processors and Google is not a step forward in that direction.

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#5) On September 06, 2008 at 11:12 AM, saurabhprasad (97.96) wrote:

Tim, as a developer, I disagree.

I can tell you that multi-threading is nothing new on an application level. We have been using it for years to write applications and build websites. There is no technical limitation to creating threads within an application instance, except the amount of memory. So, I disgaree that Chrome is doing anything big in that space.

ALL, I say ALL, operating system do multi-threading and multiprocessing - else you wouldn't be able to play music, download and write at the same time.

The limitation of operating systems has been inability to use multiple processsors - distinct processors to swap the hundreds of threads between the two. The best the OSs can do today is dual processing. Quad prcoessing is an elaborate marketing gimmick as almost no application is coded to use that many processors.

Chrome does multithread processing, which is great, but it doesn't further the cause of an application using multiple processors. It is still running those threads within one processor made available by the Windows OS.

Cloud computing needs the ability to do processing between hundreds or more processors and Google is not a step forward in that direction.

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#6) On September 07, 2008 at 9:38 AM, Andycandy (< 20) wrote:

As another developer i think processes are much different to threads. Processes, as a pattern, are a big paradigm shift from the old school multithreading and the related domain of managing concurrent access to common resources.

Process oriented patterns really do lead to more robust designs, since from the outset we are saying, this is an independent process, let it do everything it needs to and then when we're done kill the whole thing. Obviously, lightweight process models take this a whole lot futher and closer to the utopia (think Erlang processes), but i think it's a not insignificant step for Chrome in the right direction. Even if it's just the simple fact that a javascript hang in one process has little effect on other processes, or keeping things like cookies totally separate (e.g. that common resource management issue again).  I know threads can achieve this, but with much more difficulty, and they don't get it right all the time. Firefox used to always hang *every tab* when I opened PDFs. The process model solves this.

Preemptive multithreading isn't in this spirit at all in my experience. And i think, baring the obvious similarities, the devil is in the details. Processes push for looser coupling, which is the right way IMHO. 

 

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#7) On September 07, 2008 at 9:39 AM, Andycandy (< 20) wrote:

As another developer i think processes are much different to threads. Processes, as a pattern, are a big paradigm shift from the old school multithreading and the related domain of managing concurrent access to common resources.

Process oriented patterns really do lead to more robust designs, since from the outset we are saying, this is an independent process, let it do everything it needs to and then when we're done kill the whole thing. Obviously, lightweight process models take this a whole lot futher and closer to the utopia (think Erlang processes), but i think it's a not insignificant step for Chrome in the right direction. Even if it's just the simple fact that a javascript hang in one process has little effect on other processes, or keeping things like cookies totally separate (e.g. that common resource management issue again).  I know threads can achieve this, but with much more difficulty, and they don't get it right all the time. Firefox used to always hang *every tab* when I opened PDFs. The process model solves this.

Preemptive multithreading isn't in this spirit at all in my experience. And i think, baring the obvious similarities, the devil is in the details. Processes push for looser coupling, which is the right way IMHO. 

 

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#8) On September 07, 2008 at 10:32 PM, saurabhprasad (97.96) wrote:

andrew, I agree 100% that what Chrome is doing is fab - just that any research here is extremely unlikley to make it way towards utilization in Cloud Computing.

Saying multithreading is a step towards Cloud Computing is like saying conserving energy from braking in cars to reuse later (which Saturn does) is a step towards Hydrogen cars.

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#9) On September 07, 2008 at 11:49 PM, Andycandy (< 20) wrote:

Yep, i definitely agree cloud computing is a different problem. I was just trying to highlight the difference between processes and threads :)

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#10) On September 07, 2008 at 11:50 PM, Andycandy (< 20) wrote:

Yep, i definitely agree cloud computing is a different problem. I was just trying to highlight the difference between processes and threads :)

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#11) On September 08, 2008 at 12:08 AM, Andycandy (< 20) wrote:

Yep, i definitely agree cloud computing is a different problem. I was just trying to highlight the difference between processes and threads :)

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#12) On September 08, 2008 at 9:46 AM, TMFMileHigh (74.52) wrote:

Millionairefools,

Thanks for posting. Yes, you're correct; we've had multi-threading for years and it has made OSes more stable and more useful. But Chrome offers nothing in the advancement of cloud computing? I couldn't disagree more.

Which isn't to say you're wrong about the multi-processor problem. That is an issue but it's also a very long term issue. Caching, storage, memory, etc. make cloud applications function extremely fast in current environments. Salesforce.com is run entirely from data centers that utliize low-grade servers. (Going 100% Dell very soon.)

Over time, as we get better synchronicity between processors and software, I think we'll see greater reliability on the server end and, thereby, more functions available in the cloud. Chrome most certainly has nothing to do with addressing this problem.

But it very much does address the UI problem of cloud computing. What good is salesforce.com if your browser can't handle it consistently? If it crashes and eats your data?

My point is this: Multiprocessing in Chrome should make the environment more stable. It should eliminate the Web version of the "blue screen of death" that browsers supply now when a single process, or cavalcade of processes, overwhelm them. That's goodness -- it brings the browser closer to what it needs to be as a UI for Web applications.

Foolish best,

Tim (TMFMileHigh)

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#13) On September 08, 2008 at 9:25 PM, saurabhprasad (97.96) wrote:

Hey Tim, I agree that having a stable browser advances the cause of Cloud Computing, but that means that Chrome is still a browser, right?

Call me on it if I'm nitpicking here, but IMHO, Chrome HELPS Cloud Computing IF and WHEN Cloud Computing is available to be used commercially, but does NOT CAUSE the advance of Cloud Computing. In other words, the advances in Chrome and advances in Cloud Computing are at best symbiotic, and not causal. If you agree with that, I don't think Chrome deserves the theater you have awarded it by calling Chrome 'not a browser'- it is still a browser - maybe the best ever, but still a browser.

Apologies if I'm coming off as a d**k - I don't mean to.

-Saurabh

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#14) On September 09, 2008 at 11:38 AM, TMFMileHigh (74.52) wrote:

 Hey Saurabh,

 >> Apologies if I'm coming off as a d**k - I don't mean to.

No, I don't think you are and no apology is needed. Your point is a good one; there's a chicken and egg problem here and I think we'll agree to disagree.

Yes, Chrome is a browser but it's also more than that. Introducing multiprocessing into browsing is, in my perhaps not-as-humble-as-it-should-be opinion, a critical component of a cloud computing UI. That's why I believe it advances the cause. It's also one of the reasons I'm betting hard-earned porfolio dollars on GOOG.

FWIW and Foolish best,

Tim (TMFMileHigh)

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