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Google Updates Maps, Makes First Stable Chrome Release Using WebKit Fork

Unknown Lamer posted 1 year,14 days | from the ok-maps-what dept.

Google 62

Two bits of Google news from today/yesterday. This morning, Google started rolling out a major update to mobile Maps. They've created a new tablet interface, improved integration with local places, integrated the Zagat guide, and enhanced navigation to automatically route you around traffic incidents. As usual lately, Google also removed a few features: Latitude and Check-ins. If you used those you'll have to use the Google+ application now. They also made a strange change to offline maps: instead of a menu option, you now access the area you want to make available offline and search for "OK Maps." On the Chrome front, Google released Chrome 28 yesterday, the first release featuring the WebKit fork Blink. The under-the-hood changes look promising, quoting the H: "The developers say that the increased speed is also thanks to the new threaded HTML parser, which frees up the JavaScript thread, allowing DOM content to be displayed faster. The HTML parser also takes fewer breaks, which is said to result in time savings of up to 40 per cent."

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62 comments

Crap, not webkit ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44239795)

On my windows machine, WebKiy2WebProcess.exe is a crashy memory pig, and deleting cookies causes safari to crash.

I hope Google isn't going to turn Chrome into something as annoying as Safari is.

Re:Crap, not webkit ... (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | 1 year,14 days | (#44239971)

Chrome has always used Webkit, since its first release. Whatever you're complaining about is probably a Safari thing.

Re:Crap, not webkit ... (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240037)

Apple doesn't seem to really care very much about Safari on Windows; Safari 4 failed some of the early speed comparisons, for example, because it crashed when too many tabs were opened simultaneously at the start of a browser session. You'd be better off if you were using a new version of IE. (Or, y'know, anything else.)

Re:Crap, not webkit ... (4, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240439)

Apple doesn't seem to really care very much about Safari on Windows

The fact that they discontinued it should be a clue.

They keep saying it's faster but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44239869)

Every 6 months they say XXX JavaScript engine is 50% faster, the HTML parser is 40% faster! Browsing doesn't feel 45% faster every year to me, instead it just feels like all these freed up cycles are just going to tracking JS.

Re:They keep saying it's faster but... (1)

gl4ss (559668) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240191)

Every 6 months they say XXX JavaScript engine is 50% faster, the HTML parser is 40% faster! Browsing doesn't feel 45% faster every year to me, instead it just feels like all these freed up cycles are just going to tracking JS.

and I hardly think that pages are getting that much more complex every year... what's more likely is that some intermediate versions add some bloat or they just decide which bench the made better that time.

however.. has anyone seen any problems arising from updating the view while the javascript is running? blinking elements or such? or does it buffer those?

Re:They keep saying it's faster but... (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240521)

and I hardly think that pages are getting that much more complex every year

Wirth's law, amendment of 2013: web page code get slower faster than browsers get faster.

Re:They keep saying it's faster but... (2)

BZ (40346) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240745)

Pages do in fact get much more complex over time. For example, cnn.com nowadays loads well north of a megabyte of JavaScript on every load...

Re:They keep saying it's faster but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44240957)

Every 6 months they say XXX JavaScript engine is 50% faster

Is that the JS engine optimized for porn sites?

Re:They keep saying it's faster but... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | 1 year,14 days | (#44245823)

Is the tracking JS really slower, or is it more that the bottleneck is that the page is designed to wait for the tracking stuff to run, and the ad servers are under-provisioned, too far away (and/or not using a cdn), and all the tracking stuff isn't bundled, so many requests need to come back (and some of the tracking stuff has its own 3rd (4th?) party dependencies...) before you actually get to run it....

Hello from my iPhone... (4, Funny)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | 1 year,14 days | (#44239907)

Hello Google Maps, good bye Apple Maps. Oh wait, why can't I uninstall Apple Maps or change it from being the default?

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (-1, Flamebait)

krakelohm (830589) | 1 year,14 days | (#44239967)

Trolls usually post AC... hmmm someone forgot to check a box I think...

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (2)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240031)

Troll or funny? I'm interested to see which. I guess we can call this a binary poll (assuming no one marks it as interesting or anything else). However, I bet it's more informative and interesting than the silly polls we have going now.

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (1)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | 1 year,13 days | (#44249823)

So here are the results. As I write this, it's currently +5 Funny. Honestly, this is the intent, regardless of whether you believe me or not. So, we can say from this single sample point (obviously insufficient for true science) that the /. moderation system works! Here, however, are the moderations on this post:

  • Initial Karma: +2
  • Informative: +1, +1, -1 (user posted), +1; Total = +2
  • Funny: +1, +1, +1; Total = +3
  • Offtopic: -1
  • Flamebait: -1
  • Insightful: +1

Oddly, no troll moderations, but I assume that's because the person who chose flamebait didn't understand the difference. I am a little surprised at the Informative moderation. Do people not realize that you cannot set the default maps for apps to launch? to launch Google Maps (or anything else) an app would have to specifically configure it.

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,14 days | (#44239979)

LOL, on the bright side, some of us with older i-devices only have access to Google Maps because they stopped giving us updates before they changed to Apple Maps.

I'll trade you my now unsupported first-gen iPad for your phone. ;-)

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (1)

jeremyp (130771) | 1 year,14 days | (#44242543)

Yes I'm kicking myself now that Google Maps [apple.com] is no longer available on i-devices.

Oh, wait, that's a lie.

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44240169)

Hurr hurr. Dat duh funnayiest thing I read all day. You as funnay as Carlos Mencia!

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (-1, Redundant)

aristotle-dude (626586) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240345)

Hello Google Maps, good bye Apple Maps. Oh wait, why can't I uninstall Apple Maps or change it from being the default?

Why the fuck is this being modded as Informative? It is not even on topic with the story?

Re:Hello from my iPhone... (-1, Offtopic)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240603)

How quaint, someone still think Google maps is good. I use Here Maps. It's less likely all my usage is being sent to the NSA that way.

40 per cent? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44239921)

40 per cent - is that similar to that 50 per cent guy?

Ohhhh.... you meant 40 percent. Silly me with a dictionary.

Re:40 per cent? (2, Funny)

Goaway (82658) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240011)

Well, either you are silly or your dictionary is, because mine says pretty clearly, "percent also per cent".

You wouldn't have lied just now, and not actually looked it up in the dictionary, would you?

Re:40 per cent? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240795)

God forbid anyone look at the words to understand them based on their content and construction. 40 percent = 40 per cent = 40 per 100.

cent being a latin root word meaning 100.

centennial- the 100th anniversary; centimeter - 1/100 of a meter; century - 100 years; centenarian - a 100 year old person; centigrade - a scale divided into 100 degrees

Re:40 per cent? (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | 1 year,14 days | (#44242071)

God forbid anyone look at the words to understand them based on their content and construction.

The Real Meaning of MPH [youtube.com]

Re:40 per cent? (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | 1 year,14 days | (#44242181)

Yeah, that one is great...

Common sense - not as common as one might hope.

Call the union! (3, Funny)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240001)

> The HTML parser also takes fewer breaks

I'm sure there's a better technical explanation for this, but I laughed at the thought of the HTML parser on a coffee break.

Re:Call the union! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44244285)

More boring explanation: I assume they mean breaks for garbage collection. Here "garbage" is unused memory that hasn't been freed yet. Memory has to be freed to be usable again. The alternative to having a garbage collector is freeing all unused memory explicitly in the code, as is done in C and C++. This generally gives you better performance if you are very careful about how you do it, but it also consumes a lot of developer time to ensure that all memory that should be freed is freed. You don't have to worry about that if garbage is collected automatically by a garbage collector.

Javascript is based on garbage collection, so there will be pauses when the garbage collector interrupts everything to identify the garbage and free it. Client javascript could easily generate a lot of garbage, while the devs on Chrome have written the HTML parser themselves, so they can either not use a garbage collector at all, or they can be disciplined about not generating a lot of garbage. That would result in no or few garbage collection pauses for HTML parsing. I'm just guessing here.

Re:Call the union! (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,14 days | (#44246471)

You know, that's not a bad write up. Well done Mr. AC.

(I'm a professional software dev. with over a decade of experience writing large scale desktop, web and distributed systems in both C++ and Java, for the past six months I've been helping Fortune 500 companies tune their Java based servlet containers. My observation is that is about the level of technical complexity I can get into while trying to explain related problems to customers... i.e. just barely skimming the surface, but clear and accurate.)

Please stop calling it "WebKit Fork" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44240025)

I think at this point we can officially start calling it "Blink" I've been using it for a good while now and pretty happy with it so far. I once had a chemistry teacher that taught our class "If you cut a human being in half than you no longer have a human being but now pieces of a human being- this is an important part of chemistry you all need to understand". If you cut WebKit in half I wouldn't consider it a fork and it is no longer using the WebKit name in any way thanks to Apple. From now on please refer to the chrome HTML engine as "pieces of WebKit" or just "Blink". Thank You.

Re:Please stop calling it "WebKit Fork" (3, Funny)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240097)

It's all KHTML! Never give up dreaming.

Re:Please stop calling it "WebKit Fork" (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44240435)

Well, Blink is a WebKit fork, so calling it as such is technically correct -- the best kind of correct.

Stop being a pansy. Btw, your chemistry teacher was an idiot.

Re:Please stop calling it "WebKit Fork" (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44241119)

I'm an optometrist. Instead of asking my patients to blink, I'm going to ask them to web kit fork their eyes.

And yet... (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240121)

And yet, the slowest part of Chrome is STILL the web cache, which was borrowed from Firefox years ago... "Waiting for cache..." is the most common thing I see my browser doing.

Re:And yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44240571)

Exactly! They should get rid of all this "cache" crap and just redownload the whole page from the server every time instead, even when the page hasn't changed, as that will be so much faster.

(facepalm).

Re:And yet... (1)

Derek Pomery (2028) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241229)

Eh. Anon, your sarcasm seems misfounded.

You'll notice maybe that article has chart of chrome vs firefox for cache latency, w/ Firefox cache behaviour levelling off at 30ms navigation latency while Chrome's keeps climbing - 90+ms latency after 30 days and no apparent limit.

Soo, sounds like maybe he has a legit complaint, not that I use Chrome enough to know if this behaviour still exists.

Re:And yet... (3, Interesting)

Derek Pomery (2028) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240591)

Your mention of caching reminded me of this:
http://www.pclinuxos.com/forum/index.php?topic=113754.0 [pclinuxos.com]

"In a majority of web browsers, the size of the browser history and document cache is capped in one way or another: for example, if you have not visited facebook.com for a couple of weeks, any record of this will eventually disappear down the memory hole.

This is not the case for Chrome: the browser keeps all the cached information indefinitely; perhaps this is driven by some hypothetical assumptions about browsing performance, and perhaps it simply is driven by the desire to collect more information to provide you with more relevant ads. Whatever the reason, the outcome is simple: over time, cache lookups get progressively more expensive; some of this is unavoidable, and some may be made worse by a faulty hash map implementation in infinite_cache.cc."

That sounds Chrome specific to me.

Certainly I haven't noticed any cache oddities in Firefox, which I tend to leave running for weeks at a time.

Re:And yet... (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241771)

Yes, every so often Chrome gets itself in a mess and just sits there with 'waiting for cache' while the disk chugs away. I can only think that everyone working on Chrome has a machine with a super-fast SSD and don't notice any problems themselves.

Version numbering (1)

RoccamOccam (953524) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240365)

I don't understand why I'm not seeing the same slew of posts deriding Chrome's version numbering scheme that I see whenever there is a Firefox article.

Re: Version numbering (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44240559)

Because Google doesn't be EVIL so it must be good!

Re:Version numbering (3, Funny)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240685)

Google fanboys populate this place. Or as they're known elsewhere, NSA agents.

Re:Version numbering (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | 1 year,14 days | (#44243029)

Yes, I harbor resentment, mark as foe, and down-mod anyone talking negative about Google. Beware. There are many like me.

Re:Version numbering (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44245455)

Oh, as a government contractor, how I desperately wish the NSA was filled with Google fanboys.

The truth is that Chrome isn't even allowed on their security network. The officially supported browers are IE8 and Firefox 10.

IE8 support is very recent, it wasn't too long ago that IE7 was still supported.

Yes, it's as terrible as it sounds.

Re:Version numbering (2)

closetpsycho (1175221) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240923)

I don't understand why I'm not seeing the same slew of posts deriding Chrome's version numbering scheme that I see whenever there is a Firefox article.

Because Chrome started with the inflated numbering scheme and stuck with it. Firefox had a sane and useful numbering scheme and abandoned it.

Re:Version numbering (2)

RoccamOccam (953524) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241275)

It seems like that would be something that would have been complained about when it first happened and not every time that a story comes up. Otherwise, people would still be complaining about Google's decision to use such a scheme in the first place. In addition, the criticism to which I'm referring always takes the place of a joke about high high the numbering is going to get in the near future. That applies to Chrome as well as to Firefox.

Re:Version numbering (1)

TangoMargarine (1617195) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240935)

Google started out with crazy inflated version numbering, whereas Firefox used to have a sane system but then decided to abandon it.

Speaking of which...isn't Firefox almost caught up now? 22 vs. 28 I believe?

Re:Version numbering (1)

Tumbleweed (3706) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241209)

Google started out with crazy inflated version numbering, whereas Firefox used to have a sane system but then decided to abandon it.

Speaking of which...isn't Firefox almost caught up now? 22 vs. 28 I believe?

It won't ever catch up. They're both on a 6-week release schedule.

Re:Version numbering (1)

Dracos (107777) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240955)

Because Chrome is not trying to copy everything Firefox does at every opportunity.

Re:Version numbering (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44242691)

Citation needed? If you follow the bug trackers and history of development, you can see that WebKit and Chrome have largely copied a lot of features from Firefox and Opera, and continue to do so. Firefox gets flack for it because it's older and hence uncool. If you don't believe me, try to substantial your claims instead of just toeing the usual pro-Chrome, anti-Firefox fanboy lines.

Re:Version numbering (2)

Sancho (17056) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241883)

Chrome has always maintained a stable extension API, and have largely stuck with it (I'm not aware of any deviations, but I don't discount the possibility that they've existed.) Also, because they never exposed a version number in a prominent way, we haven't had web developers targeting versions of Chrome.

Firefox maintained a stable extension API, but then they also hosted third-party extensions which used unstable interfaces. By hosting them, they gave legitimacy to the unstable interfaces. With every Firefox version update, a handful of my extensions would break. When they first started the accelerated versioning, it was horrible. Now things have stabilized a bit, so there's that. Additionally, I spread my annoyance to both Mozilla and to Web devs when there's a "target" version of Firefox and later versions won't work with a website. For the web devs, "Dammit, write to the standard!" For Moz, why are they changing their rendering engine so much that it breaks compatibility with existing webpages?

But mostly, I think people just gripe at change. They didn't (seem) to complain that Chrome doesn't prominently display the version number, but they balk when Firefox decides to start doing that. Some of that may have been because of the issues related to versioning in the past--I don't know.

Re:Version numbering (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44242795)

They aren't breaking compatibility any more than Chrome is. It's just more visible because Firefox is under a heck of a lot more scrutiny. Seriously. I should know, I do my best to test both browsers and offer bug reports and test cases.

Besides, having a rudimentary add-on API is hardly the same thing as having a "change virtually anything in the browser" API. There are obvious pros and cons to each, one of the cons of Firefox's approach being the problems we've seen.

Re:Version numbering (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | 1 year,10 days | (#44282099)

Have you ever noticed WHEN chrome[ium] updates? Nope.
Firefox show you this "checking addon compatibility" for a minute after every update. Some addons used to break (not anymore though). Those negative points are what made the rapid-release so awful.

Wow, a tablet-specific version of their maps app (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240549)

What will they think of next?

Fuck. (2)

Entropius (188861) | 1 year,14 days | (#44240887)

If it routes around traffic incidents, then it'll be useless in Washington DC.

I don't want my phone to die with an error to the effect of "Unable to find path from Washington to Baltimore avoiding traffic incident WASHINGTON_BELTWAY_CLUSTERFUCK".

Now if it would automatically warn of known speed traps...

Re:Fuck. (1)

Skater (41976) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241279)

I'm hoping their recent acquisition of Waze will make them stronger in this case. I have Waze and plan to use it on a long road trip tomorrow where I'm not as worried about traffic, but for traffic purposes around DC, it's just not as good as Google Maps as far as I can tell (it seems to need a bunch of people using it in an area, and it just doesn't have that installed base yet). Combining the best of the two should produce a pretty useful map, I think - as long as the Waze-style constant tracking is opt-in. Waze has speed camera information and all, crowdsourced I assume, but it's there and useful. It was counting down to where the cameras are in my town, for example, and had them exactly where they normally are located.

Bahhh! (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241585)

"OK Maps" just brings up a map of Oklahoma. What use is that?

Oh what a beautiful morning...

My Maps Gone! (5, Insightful)

8Complex (10701) | 1 year,14 days | (#44241599)

They also removed the "My Maps" feature where you can pull up maps you've saved under your account within the desktop interface. Sad day for me, I use this for trip-planning all the time.

Uninstall updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44243219)

Uninstall the updates to get features back. I had no choice after Maps ballooned to something like 20+ MB. My palmtop computer (nee phone) has only 128 MB of RAM. Now Maps is a svelte 6 MB, fast, and fully functional.

As a rule now, I don't upgrade ANY google applications. Even on my N7 tablet. They simply cannot be trusted not to make things worse!

Re:Uninstall updates (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#44245375)

They simply cannot be trusted not to make things worse

I agree. It seems like every version they add a new click to get into google navigation on my cell. It's getting to the point that I'll just use sprint nav if I'm not already looking at the map. (not that it's any faster if you are looking at the map, google nav has to start completely from scratch and find where you are now anyway. This includes recalculating the route even if you've already gotten a route from Maps).

Re:My Maps Gone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,13 days | (#44249065)

They also removed the "My Maps" feature where you can pull up maps you've saved under your account within the desktop interface. Sad day for me, I use this for trip-planning all the time.

Are you sure? I still see it and in addition there is a link to something called maps engine: https://mapsengine.google.com/map/u/0/?gmp=msp&pli=1

Still slow on Slashdot's mobile site (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,12 days | (#44260913)

Although performance is much improved, Chrome 28 for Android still has problems with Slashdot's mobile site. What is the root cause?

https://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/detail?id=169827

Yesterday? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | 1 year,10 days | (#44282087)

Google released Chrome 28 yesterday

I updated to Chormium 28 on 19 June 2013. Why is Google Chrome getting released one month after Chromium?

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