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According to some, Google's new browser, Chrome, is not only a threat to Internet Explorer and Firefox, but also a threat to operating systems; including, of course, Microsoft Windows.

But what do the numbers say thus far?

If the early figures are any indication, people like Michael Arrington and Henry Blodget should have set their sights a little lower. Opera would have been a good start.

According to Net Applications, a provider of website tools, 0.77% of the visits to the 40,000 sites it tracks came through Chrome, down from 0.85% the week prior.

While declines over such a short time frame are of questionable importance, it's quite clear that Chrome hasn't exactly taken the world by storm and Net Applications' Vince Vizzaccaro noted that there's a "slight" but definite "downward angle" in usage as individuals who were just giving Chrome a test drive go back to their original browser of choice.

Computerworld, which reported on the Net Applications data, has seen a similar decrease amongst its visitors and I have too at The Drama 2.0 Show.

I certainly wouldn't count Chrome out of the "browser wars" (if such a war even truly exists) but in my opinion, the numbers thus far are hardly surprising when one considers reality.

F or all of the hype, Chrome has no non-negligible competitive edge over Internet Explorer and Firefox as far as mainstream consumers are concerned.

While the way Google built Chrome may be interesting and Google Gears may excite application developers, these things are realistically of little importance (and even meaning) to the average consumer.

Compatibility, reliability, security and privacy are, however.

That means that for all those who see Chrome as an Internet Explorer or even Windows killer, it doesn't look like there's going to be any blood shed anytime soon.

Let's put things in perspective: Firefox is generally seen as having around 20% marketshare. Chrome currently has less than 1/20th of that by most accounts.

For Chrome to gain a strong enough position to even have a chance at being developed into a viable Internet Explorer competitor and a "browser OS" (whatever that means), it would logically need to surpass Firefox's market share.

After all, there aren't a whole lot of observers calling Firefox an operating system despite the fact that it has a fifth of the market - a very respectable figure.

Now that Chrome's "launch bounce" has been eliminated and the shine has largely worn off, it's hard to see Google doing anything that will rapidly increase Chrome's marketshare by twenty times just to catch up with Firefox in the intermediate-term.

Even if Google pays OEMs to bundle Chrome with new computers, it seems unlikely that the average consumers will have a compelling enough reason to use it over Internet Explorer (or Firefox).

Internet Explorer is, of course, included with every copy of Windows and is the browser average consumers are most familiar with.

Google's challenge is clear - will it be proactive in improving Chrome and marketing it? Or will it demonstrate that it thought Chrome would simply gain a strong foothold in the market on the back of the Google brand and let it languish?

This should be interesting to watch and I'll go so far as to state that, given the hoopla (much of which was the direct result of hype sparked by Google itself), if Chrome ends up being yet another Google product that doesn't exactly fail but clearly doesn't succeed either, a lot will be revealed about the state of the company and perhaps even its future.

Drama 2.0

Published 2 October, 2008 by Drama 2.0

237 more posts from this author

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Rizwan

I think the mistake they made with Chrome was launching it without enough of the 'value-adds' that have now become basics from a user perspective, like compatibility with toolbars - and more crucially compatibility with the most popular sites like facebook and hotmail which don't work perfectly in Chrome. You also make a good point in that the browser that really needs to worry is Firefox because it is really only the tech savvy that will appreciate Chrome's finer points.

I've written a couple of related articles which might be of interest. I predicted a while ago that take up of Chrome would stall once people tried it in my post 'The Future Is Chrome... or is it?" http://multichannelthinking.blogspot.com/2008/09/future-is-chrome-or-is-it.html and wrote a little more on the flaws in their launch in a post titled "Customer Centricity: The basics are not enough" http://multichannelthinking.blogspot.com/2008/09/customer-centricity-basics-are-not_11.html

about 8 years ago

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Adam Crawford, Head of SEO at Momondo Group

>>will it be proactive in improving Chrome and marketing it?

Almost certainly in my opinion. I'm sure we'll start to see Google launches that are designed primarily with Chrome in mind. Other browsers may have to adapt.

In the meantime, other than some basic testing, Chrome has a long way to go to win me - and millions of others like me - over from Firefox.

about 8 years ago

Jay Gohil

Jay Gohil, Senior Online Marketing Manager at borro.com

Yes the browser doesn't have the "value-adds" but i would assume all this would be added in the very near future. It would be great if they can release a mac compatible one very soon. At the moment due to its limitations I only use chrome for quick browsing.

about 8 years ago

Anthony Sharot

Anthony Sharot, Search Marketing Director at http://www.marketappeal.com/

I'm currently a FireFox fan as I do SEO and so it's toolbars and other plugins are invaluable time savers. No doubt these will follow soon enough however given that Chrome is open source and that SEO is now primarily about Google anyway.

Like many people I initially downloaded Chrome out of curiosity and have now switched back to Firefox, as Chrome lacks functionality. I can't wait until it does though!

Also, the point about Chrome struggling to catch on misses one little detail. Google isn't Mozilla, it's the world's most popular search engine. Even something as simple as a homepage link promoting it, as they're prone to do, is worth a million dollars (if not a billion) given it's lack of competing advertising and the number of eyeballs it receives.

Chrome will also be shipped pre-installed with an ever increasing number of mobile handsets, especially once Android catches on.

about 8 years ago

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MIchael Dean

well, the first thing I did was take the source code and re-compile, under my own name, so that user wouldn't be hoodwinked into Google's unconscionable agreement. So, do users of my chrome based browser get counted? If you would like a copy of "mike's browser", just send me $25. for a real great CD!! paypal to "sourceview".

about 8 years ago

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Jack Wallington, Head of department at -

Chrome is simpler and faster than other browsers - that's been enough to get me to swap for my day-to-day browsing. Personally I expect its adoption to grow dramatically once it's out of Beta stage.

about 8 years ago

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Gerald

Out of beta? Aren't 50% of Google's products still in beta? How long has Gmail been beta?

about 8 years ago

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