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 browser after shiny metal?
The name is design reference
The name “Chrome” was codenamed 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 the fast, iconic muscle cars of the mid-century (Chrome was designed to be a faster, more streamlined replacement for the navigators of the day) and a reference to the design of the navigators themselves.
Just as the bright chrome trim and bumpers of classic cars visually wrapped around the car’s body and showed it off, the term “chrome” was used to refer to everything in a navigator except the navigator panel that displayed the page. . (In other words, “browser chrome” includes the browser toolbar, tabs, scrollbar, and everything else around the web page.) The chrome was the shiny material around the heart of the matter, the page he was reading.
While Chrome was originally the codename, it also ended up becoming the final name of the browser. The development team held an internal competition to choose the final name for the project, but according to Google developer Glen Murphy, the names that came out of the competition were horrible.
So horrible, in fact, that the development lead overrode all votes and insisted that people associate the word “chrome” with speed, making it the perfect name for the final product.
And, Also A Clever Joke
Objectively, Chrome is a pretty cool name for a browser, though perhaps my opinion of it is clouded by a childhood spent in car shows and a lifelong love affair with classic cars.
As well as being a cool name, it’s also a very clever joke about the browser that bears his name. One of the most notable things about Chrome, both at the time of its release and to this day, is the minimal appearance of the browser interface.
Chrome is named after a term that means everything that frames the browser pane but, ironically, it has very little “chrome browser” to speak of.
In a 2015 interview with The New York Times, Google’s then chief product officer (soon to be CEO) Sundar Pichai emphasized how the browser’s tongue-in-cheek name was actually at the core of the Chrome experience.
There’s a reason we built Chrome, we minimized everything about Chrome so that all the time you spent it was the website you were interested in at the time. We wanted users to focus on the content they were using. The reason the product was called “Chrome” was because we wanted to minimize the browser chrome. We think so.
If thinking about why Chrome was named Chrome you’re curious about tech names and trivia, you’re in luck.
We also like to delve into these matters, like pondering why Spotify was named Spotify and wondering what exactly Roku means.
And hey, if you want less trivia and more Chrome-focused trips and tricks, we can do that too. Here are ten awesome Chrome features you should be using.