Google Chrome Strategy: V8+Gears vs. Silverlight


In all this hullabullo over Chrome, it’s a delight to come across voices that see through the clutter. Came across one such voice in a comment on Chrome by Josh Jonte

Chrome, by Google’s own admission, borrowed heavily from Mozilla. Google is most interested in getting their new virtual machine (aka VM, AKA Javascript engine), V8, out into the wild. V8 was written and designed by one of the most capable VM software engineers in the world. It’s an extremely high-performance VM. Google’s Sergey Brin has already commented that V8 will “probably” run on Android. V8 is really just a dynamic language runtime, one of the languages it happens to run is JavaScript.

Google Gears is written in JavaScript. The latest release of Gears includes very OS-centric and application-centric features; things like worker threads, timers, http requests, a row-store.

Now, imagine if Google Gears ran on Google App Engine. Instead of persisting the database in the browser (Sqlite), it persists to BigTable. You would be able to spawn things like worker threads, timers, and http requests. What would it take to run Gears on the server? A high performance dynamic language runtime, a la V8. V8 could potentially run any dynamic programming language, the constructs are similar among all the languages (closures, dynamic typing). App Engine runs Python ATM, Python is a dynamic language. So V8 could be the runtime powering App Engine *right now*.

So the same runtime in the browser, your phone, and the server. All using the same library, Gears.

Microsoft has a similar strategy – Silverlight. Silverlight v2.0 is going have built into it a feature known as the DLR, dynamic language runtime. The DLR, per Microsoft’s own commitment, is going to run three languages at it’s release – Python, JavaScript, and Ruby. The runtime powering Silverlight is the .Net runtime. That runtime already exists on the server (has for many years), and the .Net runtime for mobiles has been around awhile as well. Thing is though, when you run Silverlight on a Mac or Moonlight, you’re *costing* Microsoft money – you didn’t pay for a license of Windows.

That’s why they need to compete so fiercely in the advertising – they need to subsidize (replace?) the loss of people paying for their software.

At the end of the day, it’s a competition for the Enterprise. Assuming both Microsoft and Google get their data-centers compliant with all the privacy regs (HIPPA, FERPA), they want the enterprise to run their vertical and niche applications on Google or Microsoft cloud.

V8 + Gears vs. Silverlight

Ironically (maybe not), Chrome is really just that for Google – it’s just chrome for their runtime.

Funny thing is, I don’t Adobe knows what they’re getting themselves into with AIR

About Sachendra Yadav

Mobilist and Social Media enthusiast
This entry was posted in Mobile, Web and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Google Chrome Strategy: V8+Gears vs. Silverlight

  1. Matt says:

    I agree that Google is trying to be involved in the whole architecture from server to client, but I disagree that the strategy is one runtime. They simply don’t care what runs on the server. But they want the client to remain open and relatively standards compatible so they can’t be pushed out by Microsoft or Adobe.

  2. It’s bugged, and it’s bugged a lot. It’s almost official – http://www.votetheday.com/polls/googles-chrome-173/
    I’m disappointed in Google – yeah, it’s beta, but remember, how Gmail beta looked like… Looks like guys had to deliver it till deadline (10th birthday, maybe), and they were obviously short of time…
    It’s better than IE, but FF will live excellently long until Google fixes everything and makes enough plug-inns and versions for Mac/Linux…

  3. Google likes the open enterprise because it knows how to expliot it, Microsoft and Adobe don’t.

    If it came down to the wire, I would go with Google. Small operators are flourishing because of their model. Ultimately Google will be put out into the margins because of one of the small operators they spawned.

    Circle of Business.

  4. Pingback: How to Get Help in Linux

  5. anonymous says:

    Thanks for the article, though, I didn’t understand everything you wrote here…
    One question though… is silverlight going to be able to run offline-stuff like gears does (gmail)?
    I believe adobe and google now have similar business strategies but Google has more money to invest plus free marketing that they can pull through the use of their search engine…
    This is evident in how fast their google chrome browser racked up market shares in so short a period – something that took firefox years to achieve.

    Thanks again for the lovely blog post – though its kinda 2 years to late for it….

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