Oh what a difference twelve months makes.
It seems that last year around this time Chrome at version 5 was just a scrappy competitor in the browser market, and I often wondered what Google would do with their upstart browser and web-based operating system waiting in the wings. Now Chrome is on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream as you can see from the latest StatCounter browser statistics compiled from May.
For the record, Internet Explorer has a 43.87% share, Firefox takes second place with 29.29% and Chrome is close to breaking 20% with 19.36%. Judging by Google’s increased marketing efforts, this is going to continue in an upward climb. The company has an array of Chrome ads on television, is going all-out with web display advertising and is even putting notifications inside Google Apps for non-Chrome users to try the browser.
However, when you look at this bar graph it is still clear that Google has a ways to go to get out of its third place perch. The launch of the consumer-friendly Chromebooks certainly won’t hurt these numbers, since the only browser that they will be able to run is Chrome.
What is the benefit for Google to expend a lot resources on getting Chrome in front of so many users? Since almost all of its services are web-based, it can position the browser in an enviable place by offering more features that directly related to products like Gmail, Google Apps and YouTube.
The more people hooked into the Google ecosystem means more ways for the company to make money, as I have outlined here. Of course, the primary goal is to make sure that users are having an optimal experience within the browser, which is why Google makes sure that speed, simplicity and security are the top goals for Chrome.
The question now is: when do you expect Chrome to surpass one of its rivals? Will it be Internet Explorer or Firefox?