02
Oct
08

Google Chrome Market Share slips a little whilst IE gains a little

google chromeIn an interesting snapshot of adoption rates for Internet Browsers, Google Chrome slipped 0.1% to a 0.7% share of the total Internet Browser market in mid September. This is not surprising really, as nearly all the geeks I know went straight out and downloaded Chrome as soon as the comic came out to try it. It is only natural it’s market share would see an artificial spike as people bought into the launch hype, followed by a small drop as the users who didn’t like it revert to using their preferred browser as default. As with any new product from a company the size and ubiquity of Google (and also Microsoft, at that), there was also intense scrutiny of various aspects of Chrome which didn’t help. Kinda like using Qantas’ forgetting to empty one of their toilets on a flight as proof of the airline’s safety record going down the gurgler, Google was always going to be heavily scrutinised & criticised with Chrome.

What’s interesting about the small slip in market share is that Google’s brand alone doesn’t appear to be as good a reason to consumers to use Chrome as I had previously suspected. In a world where it seems it’s PR-worthy if a Google employee has pickled eggs for lunch, I was quite certain the beta of Chrome would be much more widely adopted. However, we are not seeing this yet, perhaps because Chrome is still in beta and hasn’t really been pushed very hard yet, but more likely because it is entering a market where it’s competitors are already playing by Google rules – Google typically comes into a market and does things either (A) much better than previous competitors (think Search and Search Advertising), or (B) for free in a market where people have previously paid to consume products (think Android‘s release). Chrome sits well in Google’s strategy from a technology standpoint (they want to own the user’s experience and therefore data from start to finish, which is smart), but their grounds for competing is not as well defined with Chrome as it has been with some of their other offerings:

1 Chrome is not really a drastically different product to FF3 or IE8 beta 2 (I’ve seen the claims that it’s handling of JScript is much faster but really this difference is currently negligible in day to day use of Chrome – at any rate, it’s not a compelling enough point of difference for most end users to switch just yet.

2 Browsers have always been free,

So Google’s 2 traditional basis for competing have been removed… the question is, then, how will Google make Chrome seem different and attractive enough for people to actually take the time and effort to download, install and get used to it when their current browsers are doing the job just fine? Will they clone the IE strategy of Browser Wars 1 and make sure every laptop, ultramobile PC, Mac, desktop, server and mobile phone that ships come pre-installed with Chrome? Or can they create a sufficiently different beast after beta release to spur people to make the switch to chrome and stay there (Google has a pretty fuzzy notion of what exactly constitutes a ‘beta’ release, as Gmail has been in beta release stage since April 1st, 2004 – see below snippet taken from gmail earlier today 🙂 )image

 

 

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