WebKit is the rendering engine that powers Apple’s Safari web browser and Google’s Chrome browser. Those two browsers alone are responsible for a majority mobile web traffic. Google has announced that they’re going to take the WebKit source code and start doing their own thing, their own engine called Blink.
Why is Google doing this? That’s the first question they answer in their “Developer FAQ”, saying it has everything to do with performance. While I want to believe them, I think it also has something to do with control. Google wanted to take WebKit in one direction, while Apple wanted to take it in another. There was conflict, and thus Blink was born.
When will you be able to use a web browser that uses Blink? Considering that Google releases a new version of Chrome for Mac/PC every six weeks, I’d say there’s a strong chance that something will come out by the end of this year. And as for mobile, that’s anyone’s guess.
What will Apple do? They have two choices. They can join Google’s efforts, since Blink will be just as open source as WebKit, or they can keep on chugging along on their own engine. They’ll probably do the latter, both for pride reasons, and because Apple knows how to build a really damn good browser.