Which Web Browser Is Named After What It Lacks?
Google’s offering in the browser market, Chrome, sports a name that’s a bit of an inside joke. In web development terms, “chrome” refers to the GUI elements that surround the main viewing portal (where the page is actually displayed), just like the chrome of an old car is a type of detailing that surrounds elements of the car like the windows and headlights.
When Google developers had to pick a name for their browser they, tongue-in-cheek, named the browser specifically after the thing it lacked: Google Chrome has minimal browser chrome to give you back more screen real-estate and minimize the intrusion of the GUI into your browsing experience. In a 2015 interview with the New York Times, Google executive Sundar Pichai explained:
There is a reason when we built Chrome we minimized everything to do with Chrome so that all you spent time on was the website you cared about at the given time. We wanted the users to focus on the content they were using. The reason the product was named “Chrome” was we wanted to minimize the chrome of the browser. That’s how we thought about it.
So if Chrome is your browser of choice, the next time that you’re using it, you can take a moment to admire how much of the screen is dedicated to the web page you are viewing and how little is dedicated to the browser’s GUI—by design.