Why is Google’s Chrome web browser called Chrome?


When it comes to browser names, sometimes a browser is given a simple name that implies exactly what it does, like Internet Explorer. But Chrome? Why name a navigator after shiny metal?

The name is a design reference

The name “Chrome” was assigned as a code name to Google’s browser project early in the development cycle in the late 2000s.

It’s both a reference to the actual chrome found on iconic, speedy mid-century muscle cars – Chrome was designed to be a faster and simpler replacement for browsers of the day – and a reference to the design of the browsers themselves.

Much like the shiny chrome trim and bumpers of classic cars visually wrapped around the body of the car and showed off, the term “chrome” was used to refer to anything in a navigator. exception of the browser pane itself which was displaying the page. . (In other words, “browser chrome” includes the browser toolbar, tabs, scrollbar, and everything else around the webpage itself.) Chrome was the shiny stuff around meat of the topic, the page you were reading.

While Chrome was originally the code name, it also ended up becoming the final name for the browser. The development team held an internal competition to choose the final name of the project but, according to Google developer Glen Murphythe names that came out of the contest were awful.

So awful, in fact, that the head of development topped all votes and insisted people associate the word “chrome” with speed, making it the perfect name to put on the final product.

And also a clever joke

Objectively, Chrome is a pretty cool name for a browser, although my opinion on the matter is perhaps clouded by a childhood spent at car shows and a love affair with classic cars.

Besides being a cool name, it’s also a very clever joke about the browser that bears its name. One of the most immediately noticeable things about Chrome, both when it launched and to this day, is the very minimal look and feel of the browser interface.

Chrome gets its name from a term that means anything that frames the browser pane, but, ironically, it has very little “browser chrome” to speak of.

In a 2015 interview with The New York Times, then-Google product manager (soon-to-be CEO) Sundar Pichai pointed out how central the browser’s tongue-in-cheek name is, in fact, to the Chrome experience.

There’s a reason when we built Chrome, we minimized everything about Chrome so that all you spent time on was the website you were interested in at any given time. We wanted users to focus on the content they were using. The reason the product was named “Chrome” was because we wanted to minimize browser chrome. That’s how we thought of it.

If you’re thinking about why Chrome was named Chrome, you’re curious about technology names and trivia, well you’re in luck.

We also like to delve into these questions, like wondering why Spotify was named Spotify and wondering exactly what Roku means.

And hey, if you want less trivia and more Chrome-centric trips and tricks, we can do that too. Here are ten awesome Chrome features you should be using.


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