In the latter part of the 2000s, Google’s browser project was given the codename “Chrome” at a very early stage of development.
Chrome was designed to be a faster and more streamlined replacement for the browsers of the day, so it is both a reference to the actual chrome that can be found on iconic and fast mid-century muscle cars and a reference to the design of browsers themselves.
The term “chrome” was used to describe everything in a browser except the actual browser pane that displayed the page, just as shiny chrome trim and bumpers on classic cars wrapped, visually speaking, around the body of the car and showed it off. To put it another way, the “browser chrome” includes the toolbar, tabs, scroll bar, and everything else on a web page.) The chrome was the shiny material surrounding the page you were reading.
Although Chrome was initially the browser’s code name, it ultimately became its official name as well. Glen Murphy, a Google developer, claims that the competition’s names were terrible and that the development team held an internal competition to choose the project’s final name.
In fact, it was so bad that the lead developer overruled all votes and insisted that people would associate the word “chrome” with speed, making it the perfect name for the finished product.
Additionally, a Smart Joke:
Although perhaps my perception of the subject is clouded by a childhood spent attending auto shows and a lifelong love affair with classic cars, objectively speaking, Chrome is a pretty cool name for a browser.
In addition to having a cool name, the browser it refers to is also the subject of a very clever joke. The extremely minimalist design of the browser interface was one of Chrome’s most immediately recognizable features when it was first released and continues to be to this day.
Although the term “chrome” refers to everything that encloses the browser pane, the irony is that there is virtually no such thing.
Sundar Pichai, the then-Google Product Chief and soon-to-be CEO, emphasized in an interview with The New York Times in 2015 that the browser’s ironic name was actually the core of the Chrome experience.