Google Chrome drops in popularity

When Google Chrome was released, there was alot of hype. It seemed as if Google finally answered the prayers of a lot of web designers. Finally a browser that actually thinks about the web designer and not only the user. Many users were excited, Google’s success rate with most of it’s projects is very well. Google has had bumps along the road with such products like Google Checkout, and Froogle (now Google Products) which was thought to revolutionize the way that people shopped online. What happened with Google Chrome?

Chrome is slowly loosing it’s market share in the browser war. Computer World states that recently Google lost 0.08% of the market they had in one week. As of this writing they are at 0.77% share of the market after having one percent the week that Chrome was launched. There are a few things that may have caused this fast decline.

One of the large reasons that the drop may have been from the original end user license. The wording of the license made it seem that if you used Chrome, then anything you posted on any website was then the copyright of Google. This may have scared a lot of early adaptors away from the browser. People not thinking that their personal pictures they post on MySpace, or Facebook, their post on forums, or Tweets on Twitter were property of Google. All because they used Chrome to make the post.

Along the same lines, some users are afraid that Google maybe tracking where they are browsing with Chrome. The other camp says that they are just paranoid, but it makes sense. Google is has moved away from being just a search company. Google’s official mission from their website states “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” By tracking what users are searching, and what sites they are visiting, we can provide Google a lot of information. This information, gives Google a stronger understanding of what user expect and want. With this information they can then adjust search results, and ads to meet those needs. One thing that Google has been good at is understanding human habit, and from this understanding they have been able to make a large profit.

The new interface is revolution to browsers, but maybe people are uncomfortable with the change. Microsoft changed the interface of both Office and Windows, and they are still feeling a backlash. Vista feels foreign to people who have used Windows since Windows 95. Maybe some users felt the same thing with Chrome. People are comfortable with the norm, with the new interface people lost the simple things they were use to, like a menu bar which contained all of their favorites. In Chrome you can display your favorites, but you have to manually enable the option to show bookmarks at all times.

Another aspect that may have had users switch back to the browser they were using before is Chrome’s features itself. Firefox has a lot of features, and those features are “in your face”. Two the the reasons Firefox became popular was tab browsing and Plug-Ins. These are “interactive” features. Plug-Ins like NoAds, allow users to see web pages the way that would like to see them. Tab browsing, even though Firefox was not the first browser to have this feature, had a lot of users switch from Internet Explorer. Chrome’s features are more background features that the end user will not see effects of that much. V8 would speed up the JavaScript, but with the broadband speed of today, most users will not see a huge increase in their browsing experience. Chrome’s task manager is a great idea, but to the user it offers little benefits. If their browser stops functioning, then users normally close the browser and restart. That is how most users are trained, Windows users. Other features like Incognito are part of other browsers. It is just that those browsers don’t promote the feature. This is where Google seems to have paid closer attention to what web developers wanted, rather then what endusers are accustom to.

Cross-platform availability may also hurt Chrome. The official release of Chrome on Linux and OS X are still in development. The two to the top three web browsers are cross platform. Firefox, and Opera both have Linux and OS X versions, and it makes sense. These two operating systems can help Google earn a large section of the browser market. Most popular browsers on OS X are Safari, and Firefox or one of the many Firefox based browsers. In Linux, there is even less options. Most distros of Linux come with Firefox pre-installed, or Konquer. Google is missing a large niche here. By not having Internet Explorer as a competitor on these operating systems is also a bonus. There is a lot more room to grow your market, to tweak the user interface, to work out bugs and issues before pushing into the ground that IE dominates known as Windows.

Can Chrome bounce back? Yes, Google is good at coming back from being down. They have ways to say, “We were wrong, but give us another shot”. Will Chrome be a big player in the browser market? I don’t think they will in the near future. Chrome is still young, it has a lot of growing up to do. Google needs to make for sure they pay attention to what is hurting them currently so that they can make Chrome successful. Again, this is something that Google is good at doing. Once Google has time to see what the users think about Chrome, and what users really expect. Once Chrome has it’s wrinkles ironed out, it has a chance. Until then, Chrome is just another browser that just happened to be published by a large company named Google.

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