Log in   •   Sign up   •   Subscribe  feed icon

Google Creates Blink Web Engine

Google ChromeGoogle Chrome

Google Chrome went from a new, unknown Google project to becoming the second most popular browser in recent years. It is now used by millions, and is often seen as the bringer of innovations on the web. Chrome uses the WebKit rendering engine under the hood, which is an open source project that many companies and independent developers contribute to. But now, Google announced that Chrome will no longer use the default WebKit, instead forking its own version away from the others, called Blink. So what does this mean for users, developers, and innovation on the web in general?

Basically, WebKit is a very important project for the web. It means that if something changes online, if a new innovation appears, such as web video, HTML5, advanced 3D graphics that run in the browser and so on, then chances are there will be a lot of developers eager to integrate that change in the popular browsing engines like WebKit and Firefox. However, as these engines split off, like what Google just did with WebKit, that means integrating changes in a browser-compatible way becomes harder.

So what happens when Google decides to bring in a new improvement to the web? It used to be that three major engines ran the web browsing industry: WebKit, Gecko (Firefox) and Trident (Internet Explorer). Now, suddenly, there are four. That means a potential for more browser incompatibilities as Blink becomes the only engine Google contributes to, slower development times because those changes have to be ported elsewhere, etc. Google claims that its new fork will not change much for developers. But the potential is there to hinder innovation, and as such the web as a whole may have just suffered a blow with this announcement.