Greg Hunter

Google Chrome: Why You Should Have It

In Personal Tech on August 14, 2009 at 5:09 PM


According to the Wc3, 90% of people accessing the internet today are using either a version of Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox. That statistic has been pretty unchanging since Mozilla debuted Firefox replacing its original self-titled browser, even though there have been many many alternatives to the two browsing titans. Opera, AOL, Netscape, and Safari have all held at least a measurable portion of the market, but they have never made and individual dent of greater than 3%.

Experts in International Relations would call Firefox’s and IE’s relationship a case of dueling spheres of influence, and when we consider the browser itself as the hegemon and the various developers and support sites as other minor countries within the hegemon’s orbit, the analogy to international relations becomes even more appropriate. This stability of the two main players* looks to be coming to an end quite soon. Google has released a new set of versions of its browser Chrome. The browser is now in beta 3.0 for Window and pre-alpha 4.0 for Mac. (pre-Alpha comes before Beta, which is the stage at which the software is supposed to be released to a limited test audience to look for errors and problems in the software. Google though has pioneered the new use of Beta to really mean anything. I guess they think it sounds cool.).

GMail ate up Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. Google Docs popularized a whole new category of software. Google Chrome looks like it will both eat up existing software while redefining the expectations of a browser. It will eat up other browsers because it’s fast. 30% faster than Safari and a good deal faster than Firefox. It runs Javascript faster, it loads faster, it displays what it loads faster. It’s also lighter and less hardware intensive. It’s unfortunate because if either IE or Firefox is going to lose more users to Chrome, it’ll be everyone’s favorite underdog, Firefox. 30% of total internet users are still using old versions of IE even though newer ones are available. It’s silly to think that they’ll search out a new browser when they aren’t even updated to the newest version of the browser they currently use.

But Chrome also looks to add new features that most of us would never consider part of the realm of a browser. Integrating Google Docs into the browser, you’ll have to ask yourself when you want to type on Google’s word processor if you are typing on your desktop or on the internet. Few of us have ever actually downloaded a piece of software from Google. All the action has been performed over the internet, in a window pane created by our OS and browser. But once you’ve downloaded Google’s browser, you’ll have given Google a platform to directly interface with your computer without that pesky internet connection getting in the way. You gave this power to Mozilla and Microsoft without even thinking and because they latter already controls your desktop, they didn’t do too much with it. But Google will be another story. The creativity Google has shown in their other programs—Google Reader is a perfect example, who would have thought you could cull and organize that much data from people’s RSS feeds—make the imagination run wild at what they’ll will do with your entire computer’s hardware at it’s disposal.

Will this be 1984 or Back to the Future? I sure hope it’s the latter!

*I realize they’re not stable, and that Firefox has leached a huge percent of users from IE. But that’s obvious, right? Who else can Firefox steal users from?

  1. […] Google Chrome: why you should have it « THE GUTTER […]

  2. Some people may not update their browser because of laziness, but that doesn’t mean they won’t try something new, or maybe fondness for the way it works now. Where is Chrome for Ubuntu?

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