Over the last few months, there has been a lot of talk against Google Chrome. Chrome is the most popular browser with a market share of over 60%. Since its launch, Chrome offered a minimalist approach to its design: An omnibox that doubles as an address bar and search box, Tabs and a largely empty startup or new tab page with a giant search box in the middle.
On top of that, Google approached the multiple tabs concept differently, using separate process for each tab and so that when a tab crashed it did not bring down the whole browser down. This ensured that Chrome was nibble and did not crash or freeze a lot. Those two features were the main drivers for Google Chrome adoption among users.
Before adopting chrome, almost seven years ago, I was a Firefox user. It was slow and would freeze often especially on lower end devices. Back then, the internet was extremely slow – at least in my part of the world – and coupled with Firefox on a low-end device, the experience was sometimes extremely awful. The worst part of using Firefox was adobe flash player – RIP adobe flash. The number of PCs – including mine – I had to install flash player on multiple times was extremely high.
Then, I discovered that I could solve my adobe flash player issue on Firefox by simply installing Google Chrome. And that’s when we parted ways with Firefox. Google chrome proved to be a reliable browser and easy to use. Google has since then overtaken Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer as the most used browser.
Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox
Internet Explorer usage was on a decline for a very long time thanks to Firefox. People joke that they only use Internet Explorer to download another browser to use. And its death was all but confirmed when Microsoft released Microsoft Edge as its replacement. Microsoft edge never gained ground despite being the default browser on Windows 10. It has a market share of less than 5%. Mozilla has also been on the decline losing almost half of its market share over the past 3 years.
Despite numerous efforts from both Mozilla and Microsoft to stop the decline, they have not managed to. This is because Google did not just create a browser, it managed to build an ecosystem integrated it with its other services. Your bookmarks, browser history and passwords could be synced across all Chrome browsers which you have logged in using your google account. With people increasingly having multiple devices, it brought convenience and enhanced the browsing experience like never before.
To try and lure people, they have resulted to what I like to call nerd stats. These are statistics that only appeal to the nerds like battery usage tests, inbuilt AdBlock and RAM usage. These things won’t work unless you can prove a very huge performance difference. People don’t care about that, I mean how many people care about 0 – 60 times of their car? A few minutes of extra battery usage won’t make me switch. And if am going somewhere where my battery might run out I would rather carry a power bank.
To put it simply, Google exploited a weakness in the browser industry to get on top, just like Microsoft and Mozilla had done before. Google did what Microsoft and Mozilla were unable to do when they were got on top. It made a browser more than just a browser by integrating its own services and offering features such as shared history, bookmarks and passwords. To Google, Chrome is not a separate product, it’s an extension of its own services and other products. It will take something unprecedented for another browser to topple Google Chrome browser dominance. I don’t think the current players have what it takes. But you never know, I might be wrong.