Google Launches Blink, Parts With Apple over WebKit


Google and Apple will not be cooperating any more on the WebKit browser engine project. Google has initiated a new project, Blink by forking the original WebKit codebase to which the company wants to add new features. Opera Software which adopted Google’s Version of WebKit will also be contributing to Blink after it stopped using Presto for its browsers. Blink refers to the an early HTML tag that was rather despised by web developers. According to Google, Blink’s aim is to get rid of inconveniences from the browser engine.

The split is attributed to technical matters and social tensions that have persisted between the two groups. The WebKit implementations for both Google and Apple differ in their use of hardware acceleration, network communication and how they display text. Chrome also runs a different engine for its JavaScript programs.

Former Safari programmer, Eric Seidel summarizes the tension between Google and Apple as one where there is a lack of decision making on new features to be included in the codebase. “The WebKit community is full of brilliant engineers. Yet I frequently feel a lack of trust in my (or others’) judgment, or witness hot-headed remarks on bugs, lists or IRC…Social problems are perhaps harder to solve for us technical types, but I worry that for many of us it’s just become “us” and “them,” and we’ve stopped trying,” Eric says in a post titled WebKit Wishes.