It is widely known by now – Google launched a new browser – Google Chrome. I’ve been using it for some time now and have to say I’m impressed with its usability and ideas about how to change the browsing experience. I’m also impressed by the performance. As most of the things Google have created – it definitely deserves a shot. What I’ve been thinking, though, is how this launch would impact the other browser vendors and their positions on the market. According to statistics, Chrome has gained 1-2% market share for one week existence.
The browser wars are an old story, there have always been large discussions about the pros and cons of different versions and vendors. Some things have become clear (IE is losing share), some others are not (is Firefox actually the best browser). What I’ve noticed as a behavior pattern is that basically there are two groups of users – those that always follow the latest trends and download the latest version, even if betas or CTPs; and those that don’t care.
So here’s my forecast on the near future.
For the enthusiasts (I think in this category most people are IT guys – programmers, designers, admins, etc) Firefox has been the norm for the past few years. They’ve always wanted the perfect rendering and speed and browsing experience. They’ve always wanted ease of development for the web. Firefox has been providing these things better than any other browser.
On the other hand the second group of people (those who don’t care) have used IE forever. Why? Because it comes with Windows. Now, it’s clear that this is going to change – MS are losing share because more and more people are becoming aware of the available options. But the majority of people still don’t care. And this is where business strategies of browser vendors differ. Another argument in my thesis that Microsoft is the best company in terms of software marketing. They sell to the masses. They don’t have a perfect product but they make it easy for grandmas to click twice and open a webpage. Firefox sell to IT guys- they are better, definitely, but their target market is smaller.
So where does Chrome fit? I am certain it aligns with Firefox. What does it provide? Speed, better experience, and new ideas. Who cares? Firefox users. So I’m thinking that in a year or two Firefox and Chrome will share the space now occupied by Firefox. It might be bigger than it is now, and the nominal share of IE might be smaller than now, but the point is – IE would be affected by Chrome’s launch much less than Firefox. Let’s see how it turns out. And here’s some supportive stats of my argument.
What do you think?