To cope with multi-tab browsing, they included Webkit as the rendering engine, which allowed each tab to operate more or less independently of each other, so if instability caused a crash or a hang in the browser, only one tab would be affected.
Webkit meant that security was improved, as each tab was operating independently and couldn’t “talk” to the other pages. So banking on one tab could not be affected by downloading or gaming on another. Google described this as “the multi-process architecture of Chrome” and believed they had brought a great good to the world. It’s difficult to imagine using a browser any other way today, as the other browsers followed Chrome’s innovations as they appeared, so we now expect to be able to have separate activities going on in many tabs - even on our mobile devices, where a major selling point today is how many processes can run alongside each other without causing the system to fall over. Google Chrome led these innovations.
Many features which had been announced by other browser providers as future developments appeared in Chrome in 2008. These included the use of an “omnibox” or the ability to type search terms directly into the address bar - bringing you the top search results in Google when you hit enter. This feature has been so embedded in our browsing behaviour that many people did it habitually in any browser, even before IE, Firefox, Opera and others followed Chrome’s lead by merging the search and address bars. Nothing was quite so frustrating as to catch yourself typing search terms into the address bar and being met by IE’s “page unavailable” message. Not many design classics influence behaviour so much that the expectations of the original carry over into competitors. But then not many products have become design classics in the way the Google brand has.
Some argue that the idea of a “great good” is not often Google’s motivation, but profit, and that Chrome was just a stepping-stone to a wider project of web domination, and its lucrative marketing and advertising potential. Nicholas Pufal, Consultant Developer at ThoughtWorks, believed that Google’s move into browser development was just another step in their relentless march towards domination in the world of technology. Not a browser for a browser’s sake, but a stepping-stone towards a much bigger project. “They don't just make a huge project and deliver it full. If their work field was food, instead of delivering a Hamburger like every other company does, they would first deliver to people the meat, then the bread, then the cheese, etc.” So, the Google browser was just the meat in what would become a browser, app, cloud hamburger.
Google Chrome - Twelve Questions