Google has launched a free and open source web browser, Google Chrome. I haven’t had a chance to try it yet (Mac version should be coming soon), but if it works as advertised, it should be pretty good. It has many interesting features that I hope other browsers will copy quickly.
But what I found most interesting about the launch is the 39-page comic book that was released simultaneously. The words are by the Google engineers that worked on Chrome, and the images are by Scott McCloud. It does a very good job of explaining the browser’s features and architecture to both a technical and non-technical public (though they’re obviously targeting early adopters and not grandmas).
This might actually be one of Google Chrome’s biggest innovations.
The comic book will no doubt be read by more people than standard product documentation, and those who read it have a lot more chances of understanding why Chrome’s new features are worth checking out (who else is getting non-programmers to read about the fine points of HTML rendering engines and memory allocation?). By grabbing more early adopters, Google will probably generate more buzz and increase adoption rate. Even the non-tech traditional media will probably have more accurate stories about the browser, with better narratives and less PR-speak. Very smart. It’s a bit like Apple’s product demos, except that you don’t even need to ask the media to gather in a big room. And more intangibly, it really helps the branding of this product by creating a good first impression.