The Secret to Making Chrome
If you stop and think about it, this is an astounding accomplishment. A browser of this complexity is a HUGE piece of software -- Google Chrome is 1.6 gigabytes of code (that would take a typical person 20 years just to type in, much less debug!) Now, Google has a lot of extremely smart people working for them, but even so, this is an incredible achievement. Consider: at one point, Netscape was the "king of the internet", the company poised to take on Microsoft for domination of the computer industry. Then Netscape decided that most of their browser needed to be rewritten. Three years later, they released it... and in the meantime, Microsoft had won the first of the browser wars, and Netscape was an irrelevant subdivision of AOL.
Given Google's penchant for secrecy, it is difficult to say just how long they spent developing Chrome, but it is doubtful that it was under development for 3 years (perhaps more like 2). And many of the now "standard" features listed above didn't exist when Netscape 6 was written. So what is Google's secret, that allowed them to build this incredibly complex piece of software in an amazingly short period of time?
The answer is that Chrome is built on open source software. In fact, it uses at least 25 different software libraries! And we're talking about simple little helper utilities, the open source dependencies include "webkit" (the same HTML rendering engine that powers Safari), NSS (which provides all of the encryption needed for SSL and more), pthreads (which supports building a multi-threaded application) and sqllite (an entire database).
This is the new face of software development. Open source is no longer an obscure, pseudo-communist hippie movement dedicated to putting professional programmers out of business (it never was, despite the fact that Microsoft once wanted us to believe it). Instead, it is an essential part of building modern software applications.