Talking tech since 2003

According to StatCounter, Google Chrome has continued to pick up market share in the browser wars through December. Chrome went from 15 percent market share a year ago to 27 percent share in December 2011. A trend that I believe will continue as it catches up to (and eventually surpasses) Internet Explorer in market share which is currently at 39% according to StatCounter.

But why has Google been so successful with Chrome? How come Mozilla couldn’t penetrate the market as quickly? Both very good questions. There are a few factors that I think have played into Google Chrome’s success.

First, we live on the web more today than ever before. Today, the browser is a very important part of computing, some could make the argument it’s the most important aspect of computing for the average user. Bottom line: people live in the browser. And what company is in a better position than Google to take advantage of that? None.

So what has Google done?

Well, for starters, they built a solid reputation for Chrome on Windows. Next, instead of just porting over the Windows version for Mac and Linux they built a completely new version of Chrome from the ground up for each platform. Why? To ensure the experience was exactly the same despite the platform. It took another two years before Google officially released Chrome for Mac and Linux, but they made sure it was worth the wait. And as a Google Chrome user, I can say for certain it was definitely worth waiting for — it’s the best browser I have ever used.

Then Google made use of its home page, the most trafficked home page on the web, and started marketing Google Chrome to everyone. However, Google then moved its Chrome marketing campaign offline to the television; a brilliant decision. Why? How often do you see a television ad for Microsoft’s Internet Explorer? Right. Never. Microsoft is too busy using its advertising dollars on Windows 7 and figuring out ways to tie all of its Windows 7 products together.

Two other things that I think have helped Google Chrome are the poor reputation that Internet Explorer has developed even amongst average users. Most people are now aware there are alternative browsers out there. Even though Microsoft has done a lot to secure Internet Explorer, many people still believe (and perhaps rightfully so) it is not as secure as Chrome or Firefox. The last factor is the fact that Microsoft is required to give users in Europe a choice now via the Browser Ballot that allows them to choose which browser they want installed on their computer.

When you look at all of these factors together, it is easy to see how Chrome has gone from zero to hero very quickly.

Top 5 browsers statcounter

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