The Unhurried Acceptance of the Speedy Google Chrome
The Google Chrome browser that was introduced to the world in 2008 built up huge prospects due to the highly successful Gmail product that Google is so well known for. With Gmail and the Google search engine bringing in all the excitement in the internet world, Chrome was anticipated to garner a similar welcome. With Google’s big move to outdo Mozilla and Microsoft with their respective Firefox and Internet Explorer, it was facing a moment where it would either dramatically succeed or not.
This move wasn’t without basis. Google had, for years, come up with highly competitive products that answered the needs of online users. All it needed was to answer the prayers of the unsatisfied public to come up with a high performing browser. Thus, Google Chrome was born deliberately after years of research and development by the Google team which had a plan for this product that would extend past its other plans for online applications and services.
With Google’s move to go against already established players in internet browsing, it entered an arena where most users were opting to use browsers such as Firefox of Internet Explorer and were not thinking of making any kind of shift at all. Since September 1, 2008, Chrome has only acquired approximately four percent of the total market share which is far from comparable with the other two leaders.
The Obstacles of Google Chrome
Before, during and after Google Chrome was released, there were already several factors that were beginning to spell out problems that wouldn’t make it an instant hit. First, when Google released the beta version of Chrome, it wasn’t exactly the best of versions to introduce to the world. Filled with bugs and instability, this browser didn’t excite any webmasters or web users enough to make them want to make the later switch. And with Chrome’s surprise release, many webmasters were not informed in advance to even think of adapting their websites to the Google Chrome specifications.
Secondly, consumers who buy laptop and PC packages from different companies usually stick to the browser that is installed in the unit. The pervasive lack of awareness by consumers about browser technology in general has prevented Google Chrome from taking off as it was expected to. With the existing functional browsers that already exist today, many felt they did not need a new browser to switch to. This led to another problem of it not being readily adopted as a default browser in workplaces because Internet Explorer or Firefox did the job readily and well.
Third, Google Chrome still does not exist for Linux and Mac OS users as of today. The Linux and Mac OS crowd make up a healthy chunk of online users who are a large potential market for the Chrome browser to infiltrate. But with Google Chrome’s slow development to break into this market, even workplaces that use Linux and Mac OS have not opened up their doors to Chrome because of its apparent snub to that sector of users.
Since Mozilla, Apple, and Microsoft are already getting their teams to enhance their respective browsers – Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari – the question now is whether or not Google should continue with the Chrome development project. Some, like Al Hilwa (IDC analyst) feel that if Google is serious about staying in the game, they should continue with the project with further research and development and better marketing efforts. Brian Rakowski of the Chrome team feels that Google is up to the challenge since the Chrome product that has been released is functional and fast and promises better things, especially now that it has caught the attention of 30 million users that now use Chrome. He believes that the potential of Google Chrome is high with its initial introduction and that the future promises even better prospects.
End User Education
According to Forrester analyst, Sheri McLeish, most consumers do not care as much about what browser they use to get on to the web. In fact, most just want to get onto the internet and look for little else to do the job. Many users of Internet Explorer don’t even look to make an upgrade in their browser much to the frustration of Microsoft. Since a browser is usually installed into a PC or laptop according to whatever operating system they have, they simply use whatever is available and don’t plan to make a switch.
According to Hilwa, because of different companies that develop operating systems and that develop their own browsers hand in hand with the operating system they develop, Google will be faced with competition that involves more than just a browser but also an OS. This would explain Google’s long-term plans on releasing the Chrome operating system that will use Google Chrome as its main browser.
Google has also foreseen the integration of including bundled software and operating system in future units of Sony laptops and PCs to stay competitive with similar strategies that Microsoft and Apple have taken. But Google has not given up on getting the Chrome browser to be more accepted by ignorant end users. In fact, according to Rakowski, its next strategy is to have its marketing department create an education program to educate consumers on the Chrome browser and its advantages. In terms of the Chrome browser development, the Google team continues its development and improvement to better its performance and possibly come up with a Mac OS and Linux version soon.
Since end users are relatively ignorant about web browser design, architecture, and speed, the average web user cares little about whether they use Chrome or Firefox or any other browser for that matter. Only the more techie groups, that include programmers and webmasters, can understand what makes a browser like Chrome as competent as its predecessors. Aside from this, users will also look at other factors that will affect downloading speed and efficiency such as bandwidth, hardware, and internet service provider traffic and will think less about what kind of browser they are using.
Google’s Line of Attack
Rakowski says that with the release of the Chrome browser, it is not limited to what it has offered to online users to date, but opens up doors in future innovations in browser development and technology. This move on its own is critical to Google as it develops products in line with the initial Chrome browser. There have been questions as to why Google decided not to build on the existing Mozilla Firefox browser with which they already have a relationship, but Rakowski explains that some of the things that Google wanted threatened to disrupt ongoing plans and designs already done for Firefox, therefore coming up with a totally new product was the next best thing.
To date, the Google team working on the Chrome project is working as quickly as it can to finish the Linux and Mac OS compatible versions of Chrome, which is one item within a whole list of planned developments for the browser. For the time being, the Google team is working on one thing at a time to help the Chrome browser stay at par with other browsers and to educate consumers about the browser’s capabilities. Google will continue its planned path and will cross the bridges when they get to them.