Evan Martin’s fun stories about early Chrome development.
At one point the question came up: how many redirects should a browser follow? Say you try to load A, but it redirects you to B, which redirects to C, and so on; at some point you should give up and say something is broken. Someone picked some reasonable-seeming threshold, like 10 or so, after which Chrome would give up. Then Darin, who had previously worked on Firefox, said “no, it has to be 30, or it breaks the New York Times — I know this from experience”.
About half of Chrome’s code was our fork of WebKit, which we reintegrated into Apple’s upstream after Chrome released (only to eventually permanently fork again many years later, after my time). This meant that, shortly after our release, changes we made needed to be approved by Apple engineers.
In retrospect I enjoyed this a lot, for two reasons. One is that getting code review from experienced engineers is one of the best ways to grow as a programmer, and the Apple engineers came from a totally foreign engineering culture — no unit tests! no comments! — that also was clearly producing a high-quality product.
Also, apparently Chrome used to have a full-text search engine for history. I remember reading SQLite docs about FTS3 and being surprised that it was contributed by Google.