By Vamien McKalin | Apr 05, 2013 11:53 AM EDT
Google is making a big move that could either improve Web browsing or turn everything into a complete mess. Wednesday the company announced it would be switching from the popular WebKit rendering engine, to its own offering, Blink, which is a fork of WebKit.
According to Google, WebKit has been slowing down the way it develops Chrome. This is because Chrome uses multiple methods to display Web pages. WebKit doesn't fit anymore because each Chrome tab is a separate process, and the rendering engine doesn't have the methods to keep up with such innovations. By moving away, to its own rendering engine, Google Chrome could become a lot better and faster than it already is.
"This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines-similar to having multiple browsers-will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem."
Google is not the only one going the Blink route, Opera is on the plan as well. Future versions of Opera in the not-so-faraway future should become more usable than what is available now, and might finally get enough market share to stay relevant on the desktop side of things.
Developers shouldn't feel cheated, as nothing much is expected to change, at least not in the early days. Blink is a fork of WebKit, which means development should be similar in many ways. However, as time goes by, you can be sure that things will begin to differ quite a lot, and developers will have a choice of choosing Blink or WebKit as the go-to rendering engine.
It would great to see Microsoft and Mozilla join Apple on WebKit, but that is not likely to happen in a million and one years.