Initial work focuses on internal improvements and brings very little change for web developers

Update: Chrome developer Alex Russell has an excellent read on this for those interested.

On the Chromium blog, Google just announced that they have split off WebKit to create and further develop the open source Blink rendering engine. Blink will, over time, diverge away from WebKit and evolve in "different directions" with a focus on speed and stability. If all goes according to plan, developer channels of Chrome and Chrome OS should see a Blink-powered version in short order.

The reason behind the decision, according to the Chromium blog post, is that Chrome handles all the different processor architectures a bit differently. Forking their own model will alleviate future issues in both the WebKit code and Chrome itself.

Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation - so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.

Because WebKit is open source, Google has long been one of the main contributors. Blink will also be open source, and qualified developers will be able to become "official" contributors if nominated by the group. 

On the surface, Blink won't bring much, if any, visual change. The changes are under the hood, and users should see no difference. Of course, with software anything can happen. This is a big undertaking, and we wish the best of luck to the entire Chrome team.

And yes, Blink sounds very Google Glass specific. There is no mention of the wearable device, and we're not going to speculate.

Source: Chromium blog


Reader comments

Google forks off WebKit to create new rendering engine 'Blink'; will power Chrome and Chrome OS


Thats nice now the internet will be a mess like it was in the 90's. IE support only blah blah blah. WebKit has been the standard and they want to break that now.

That's already going on, webkit is not the standard. There's a lot of markup specific's for both webkit, mozilla and indeed IE. If blink is based on webkit i would imaging that it brings little difference to the markup and styling.

How do you figure webkit isn't the standard for the most part? Webkit is used for Chrome, Android Browser, Safari, Opera, Blackberry, etc. It has the highest mobile market share if I remember correctly. I think Chrome is the number one browser on the desktop as well now.

Still have Firefox and IE, but now we will have another one, I don't think Blink is going to be based on webkit as the article sounds. Maybe I read it wrong, but this is just the start. Webkit is the most used and standards are pretty much set for it now and we are going in reverse, which seems like Google likes to do. Tried to keep Flash alive and tried to push WebM instead of H.264, etc. Not liking it here!

It's mainly because of ie and Firefox and the big marketshare they have, and that web standards aren't made specifically for webkit. And blink is based on webkit and will be identical to webkit at the start and branch out from then on. This is far from going in reverse and they are not even doing blink prefixes, so nothing will change for the worse just the opposite.

Btw. I read that opera is going to use blink aswell.

You forgot its roots...Konqueror in KDE. Webkit emerged from KHTML, which was the rendering engine for KDE awhile back. Apple forked KHTML to start the Webkit project.

I have a feeling Webkit and Blink will follow each other, and Blink will be maintained just by Google because of its special needs. I don't think that this will be a massive move away from Webkit. I'm sure Google will use everything Webkit gets and push upstream anything they innovate that Webkit can include.

Google has been kicking rocks for a while now. First it was at Facebook, then Apple, and lately Microsoft. All the while, it appears the other three seem to play nice enough together.

This actually makes sense, and I'm surprised Google didn't do it sooner. Their focus needs to be on making Chrome OS, Chrome and Glass work as well and smoothly as possible. That's hard to do when working within a group whose goals don't really intersect with your own.