Google Chrome Turns One: A Few Questions and Answers
One year ago today, Google released Chrome, a day after the news-at once startling and inevitable-feeling-leaked that it had decided to get into the browser business. (Lest we forget, Chrome remains the only major software product ever to be announced via comic book.)
Back on September 1, 2008, I hadn't yet had the opportunity to try Chrome and knew very little about it, but was so excited about the news that I cranked out a post called Ten Questions About Google Chrome. A year later, it's easier to answer most of them. Shall we? (I skipped recapping question #3, which involved me wondering whether Google had given Mozilla a heads-up it was working on a browser.)
1. Will Google stop promoting Firefox? It's been known to use the Google homepage to tell IE users they should be running Firefox , and it distributes a version of Firefox with the Google Toolbar built in . You gotta think that it'll redeploy some or all of its Firefox-boosting energies to drumming up interest in Chrome.
One year later: Yeah, it stopped promoting Firefox. The companies still have a mutually beneficial relationship, since Google remains Firefox's default search engine, and revenues from the ads displayed with search results helps fund Firefox development. And you can still get Firefox-optionally-as part of Google Pack. But Chrome is now Pack's default browser, and there's no question which product Google is rooting for in Browser War 2.0. (Hint: It's the one with "Google" in its name.)
2. Will Mozilla decide Google is an enemy, not a friend? Probably not-as Kara [Swisher] notes , the companies recently extended the relationship that makes puts Google into Firefox as its default search engine until 2011. That deal makes Mozilla millions of dollars a year , which is presumably enough to make Google at worst a frenemy of Mozilla. It's hard-although not impossible-to imagine Mozilla being so ticked off by Google launching a browser that it takes its search business to someone else, such as Yahoo.
One year later: Google ads remain Mozilla's principal source of revenue. And even if Firefox's creator is uneasy about that-and I don't know whether it is-I kinda doubt that it's going to take its business to Binghoo.
4. Just how hard will Google push Chrome on the Google homepage? Like no other company on earth, Google has an opportunity to get hundreds of millions of people using its browser in a relatively short amount of time. You gotta think that it'll use the Google homepage to drum up interest. But will it check to see if you're using IE, Firefox, or another browser and attempt to convince you to switch?
One year later: Google sometimes promotes Chrome on its home page when you view it in other browsers, although not continuously-or at least it isn't doing so for me right now. Its ad for Chrome within Gmail strikes me as a tad pushy (it sticks an exclamation point-a rarity in Googleland-onto the end of its urgent-looking notification that Google Runs Faster in Chrome!) It's also advertised its browser on YouTube and Facebook and even the boob tube. But I still have the feeling we haven't seen what would happen if the company really decided to bang the Chrome drum.
5. Will Google try to convert Google Toolbar users into Chrome users? Toolbar is presumably Google's most widely-used piece of software at the moment, and it seems inevitable that Google will want to let users know about Chrome. But will it, say, try to bundle Chrome into the Toolbar download from now on? Apple discovered that bundling is dangerous when it caught flack for distributing Safari for Windows via the iTunes updater .
One year later: As far as I know, Google hasn't tried particularly hard to turn all those millions of Toolbar users into Chrome users, and the company seems to be a good scout when it comes to avoiding slipping downloads onto your system that you didn't specifically request. But enough Toolbar fans have tried Chrome that this brief post I wrote a year ago today on the lack of a Google Toolbar for Chrome is one of the most-read Technologizer items to date.