When Google Chrome launched several months ago I think a lot of folks assumed they’d be switching to that browser, which uses several excellent innovations to enhance online navigation. Google even issued a nifty comic book to help explain the innovation, and blogs were buzzing for weeks with mostly neutral or favorable reviews.
So what happened? Why is Google Chrome market share so small compared to Firefox and IE?
The first reason of course is simply … habit …. It’s very hard to get people – even innovative online folks – to change from one good application to another. Contrary to a lot of silly suggestions the Internet Explorer browser was not broken and even though FireFox has slowly been gaining market share it is clear that the rapid demise of IE was greatly exaggerated. I use FireFox but I’d hardly say it’s dramatically superior or even all that different from IE.
Although it’s hurting Google Chrome, our habituation works very well for Google in the search sphere where people tend to use Google for search without even testing against other engines – that game is over and until we see a major new semantic search innovation Google’s likely to be the search of choice for years to come.
Interestingly Google Chrome really does “feel” different to me and on balance I liked the differences, yet like millions of other onliners who loaded up Chrome I did not switch over and rarely use that browser now. I know one of my concerns was the uncertainty that still surrounds Google’s treatment of the data I indirectly share with them using Google products. As a regular user of Google search, Gmail, blogger, and more watching Google both become dominant and also struggle to maintain their legendarily high online revenue I do worry that Google has too great a potential to become “the boss of me”.
Still not sure what’s up with Chrome, but as with many things internet it’s good to head over to Matt Cutts’ blog to get a very well informed opinion. Matt is one of a handful of Google’s veteran search engineers and writes what for many is the key blog discussing issues relating to search, especially Google search.
Hmmm – I don’t think it’s fair to use the 5 vs 10 math here, but maybe Matt’s on to something. As creatures of habit we tend to settle in to the familiar and with the new we quickly look for things that bother us. Google Chrome may in fact be the best browser, and I think I’d want to take the Crhome side in a debate even though I’m not using it, but not sure if I’ll be able to break the old browser habits. Will you?