Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Who cares about Chrome. IE6 Has 25% Market Share

At my company, Kloudshare, a big part of what we are developing involves pushing boundaries of what browsers are expected to do. Generally speaking this is the case industry wide as the web browser is becoming more and more a real application delivery system.

Google understands this issue and has apparently been focused on some of the more glaring weaknesses of the current crop of browsers. As such, they have decided to launch a new browser called Chrome, to try to bring browsers into the 21st century.

This has the blogosphere all excited. Everyone is writing about the features of the new browser, and its strategic significance. The product sounds great, but I can only get but so excited.

Why?

Because as a developer, Chrome seems to me to be little more than pissing in the wind.

Microsoft’s Internet Explorer controls around 75% of the browser market, and that’s not the bad news. The bad news is that Internet Explorer version 6 has 25% of the market.

IE 6 launched in August of 2001.When IE 6 Launched the attacks of 9/11 hadn’t happened yet. We were in the middle of the 1.0 tech bubble. In fact, if I had had kids when IE 6 was introduced they would be in second grade this year.

And yet 25% of the market is still using it. I’m not sure, but I believe it still comes on XP installation disks. In any case the fact that Microsoft has nothing in place to induce a higher upgrade rate is damn near criminal.

And so I must contrast all of the breathless excitement over chrome with the fact that the browser with #2 market share is so bad in 2008 terms it is just barely capable of delivering modern experiences. And even to do that, *lots* of engineering goes into supporting this trailing edge of the browser market.

I’d love to see a study of how much time is wasted developing special case crap for IE 6. I suspect if you added it all up we could solve world hunger or something.

All I know is that for me, as a writer, Chrome is a fun story -- as a developer, not so much. As a developer, Chrome is very much a story for the next decade and has nothing to do with my 2008 or even 2009 challenges. In fact it will be a cause for celebration if I care at all even in 2010.

The bottom line is Microsoft has been fighting the browser wars with spitballs and plastic knives and they are still beating Firefox handily. So Chrome, from a business perspective, for the foreseeable future, is totally irrelevant.

93 comments:

  1. "Microsoft has been fighting the browser wars with spitballs and plastic knives and they are still beating Firefox handily"

    Except they've hardly been fighting at all except for the past year or two, just quietly relying on 'least effort' to keep people using whichever browser is installed the first time they turn on the computer - invariably IE. I'd think anyone arguing that IE6 or 7 have a high market-share because they are great products would have a tough sell on their hands - Microsoft has been holding back the web for a very long time and it is frustrating that they'll still be doing so over the coming years.

    I wonder whether Google will eventually provide a link to Chrome on their homepage...

    -btw your captcha doesn't seem to work on safari :(

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  2. .. oops, that reads badly. Not that I am trying to suggest you are arguing that at all.

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  3. Completely disagree: Chrome is relevant also _because_ IE6 still has 25% market share. This is the chance of getting a new generation (next generation) browser download in front of the million of users that still use IE6.

    The other reason why it's relevant is that some computation, because of the optimized js engine, can be moved on the client-side, and together with Google Gears it can make the OS a commodity.

    These are only the technical reasons, then Google knows their business reasons.

    L.

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  4. "This is the chance of getting a new generation (next generation) browser download in front of the million of users that still use IE6."

    Don't think so. Firefox has been really pushed hard, and still IE dominates. The problem is that 90% of those IE6 users probably dont even know what a browser is or what tabbed browsing means.

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  5. These are all very very valid points and I agree wholeheartedly. However, I think the reason Firefox hasn't beaten IE is because its still kind of a browser for the "internet-literate" user base - while IE comes already isntalled with IE for every average man's computer.

    Google was always about simplicity and delivering products for the masses. People like the brand too. If they manage to port that to Chrome, I reckon they'd have a good shoot.

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  6. Are you saying that because IE6 - undoubtedly a rubbish browser - has a high market share it's not worthwhile to introduce a potentially better one?

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  7. If you wait for attrition to get IE6 usage down into the asterisks, you're going to be waiting a long long time.

    Or, you could push a little:

    http://37signals.blogs.com/products/2008/07/basecamp-phasin.html

    Of course, 25% is a lot to risk. On the other hand, I bet the actual users of BaseCamp are somewhat less than 25% IE6. Maybe the same would be true of Kloudshare.

    It is a typical who-goes-first dilemma, but if a lot of web app stopped supporting IE6, users would upgrade.

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  8. One aspect most commenters seem to be missing out on: see my post at the link above.

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  9. Hmm. Firefox has gained 20% market share from Microsoft, almost as much as IE6, with comparatively no money in just over 3 years.

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  10. I believe Google has the power to push this change faster than any other browser maker - simple because IT IS Google. I'd like to know how many google toolbars are installed - toolbars are nasty, but of all the toolbars I reckon google's is most prevalent - especially among the non-developer crowd - and google desktop search and things like that also - google are pretty good at getting onto people's machines - and largely they do this by providing products that are simple and that actually work without pissing you off. So I think if anyone can stir up the browser world it'll be Google. And even if it doesn't mean web devs can develop for it, the impact it'll have on firefox, opera, safari will be substantial if google's browser is as good as they say - and if they can influence those browsers to change then suddenly we an even grander array of browsers capable of far more than IE can deliver. It's a significant thing Google is doing, but I agree it wont change the majority of dev jobs - but it pushes things forwards in a good way and that is something to be excited about. But in the very least maybe you personally get to use a potentially really decent browser for once (FF is crashy, IE it bloaty, Safari is too maccy, and Opera, despite being good, is just so dull except for maybe it's mobile offering)

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  11. Valid point but back in 2001 we also had to support a little known browser called Netscape. As developers do we still support it? No. Because it is possible to make those users upgrade.

    But nobody did it since Microsoft had major market share. I think Chrome sets precedence for renewed conversation where Browsers are concerned. And I think it's about time.

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  12. Stoem,

    No, I am not saying Chrome is a bad idea for Google to do. I think it was a good and needed idea. But as a developer it does not change in any what what I will do or will be able to do for the next few years because the marketshare will be so small and because, for quite a while I still have to put energy into the crap that is IE 6.

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  13. Lorenzo,

    I agree with most of what you've said here. However, Id like to point out something about your qoute below.

    "The bottom line is Microsoft has been fighting the browser wars with spitballs and plastic knives and they are still beating Firefox handily."

    Microsoft isnt Google, in fact I would say they are not putting up much of a fight at all.

    The fact is that the most widely used operating system (Windows)contains the most commonly used browser out of the box.

    Make web broswers a choice for users upfront and that would change the market share for browsers without a doubt.

    Firefox only has market share because the people in the know (developers, geeks, early adoptders) are aware of it and went and got it on thier own.

    We often overlook the fact that, Early adopters are very different from the late majority.

    The late majority do not have a clue for the most part. They are programmed to accept what they are given and usually wont change products without a good reason. The avergae user does'nt know whats going on until they've been online for years.

    The only way to curb that behavior is to present a product before an established audeince (just like the Windows OS provides a web browser to it audeince)

    Well guess who also has an audience that most people use while online (60+% belongs to Google). The majority market share holder in online search is none other than Google. How likley is it that that clean front page used for search will contain a link to a better browser offering an improved experience.

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  14. My post is directed to the original author , Hank not Lorenzo.

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  15. I can tell you with great certainty, most of the people I interact with at a professional level and personal level have NO IDEA what a web browser is, nor do they care what a web browser is.

    Unless Google can have it pre-installed as the default browser on a dell, compaq, hp, etc... IE will reign supreme.

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  16. I agree, the bigger problem isn't with improving browsers, but rather with getting the new browsers onto every computer. Regardless of whether it's Firefox, IE8, or Chrome. Older versions must be replaced.

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  17. IE has an operating system along with it, so most efforts are good in their own right, but not able to disrupt IE-- and yeah, that IE6 is a big one. These aren't the people that will install Chrome or even Firefox.

    My wife and I work in two different markets. Mine's firefox (people reading this comment, tech) and her market (mundane, mass culture) is OVERWHELMINGLY IE. Just last night she was griping to me about how much she hates supporting IE6, but, she has to.

    If people cared so much about disrupting IE, they'd neuter all web access and force the change. "You must download Firefox to view this site". Cruel, but hey, if you want to believe in a revolution, you must shed some blood once in a while.

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  18. As a developer it's very relevant to me. Yes, some website have to support all browsers, and hence the lowest common denominator. But a lot of dev jobs involve just internal (web) systems. Also consider the number of guys who do flash, even though it's not supported everywhere. Anyway, if someone doesn't know what a browser is (and is using IE6), are they likely to be using your hyper social networking web application mashup.

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  19. Additionally, just because people are browser with IE6, doesn't mean they don't have Firefox. Anyone on Win2k has to use IE6 (rather than IE7). Some sites work better in IE, hence they use it. I've always doubted some of these stats - specially when you see pre IE5 figures. Anyone using those is going to have so many trojans and viruses they might as well post their machine to the Russian mafia.

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  20. Most large company IT depts haven't upgraded to IE 7 (nor vista). That accounts for a lot of the 25%.

    excellent post, btw!

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  21. > Why does everything suck?

    Well for one thing, people keep spouting bogus statistics and that really doesn't help.

    Just have a close look where you're getting your ridiculous stats from and how they get them, how they tell the difference between one browser and another (including the flaws of such a method) and how they count those results. More than likely if you care to look you will find that they are gathering their results from Alexia toolbar, ad views or some other piece of junk that smart users (the ones who update their browsers) do not install or have blocked and then interpreting those results based on flawed assumptions!

    Your stats are likely to be highly skewed towards stupid users and users that don't have technical friends. But please, feel free to ignore the source.

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  22. Funny post. You must be nearly retarded.

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  23. "Microsoft’s Internet Explorer controls around 75% of the browser market, and that’s not the bad news."

    Not according to the w3c:
    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

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  24. Completely agree!

    There's another angle to this, btw: Google has become the new Microsoft. They used to be the "do no evil" company, but lately they have been taking on great open source projects and in effect trying to kill them. Examples?
    * Wikipedia - why start Knol? why not work with Wikipedia to make it better?
    * Firefox - why start Chrome? Firefox is an awesome browser and is doing great - why not support it further?

    It's just a question of time before everyone realizes that too...

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  25. Wade,

    If you look down the page you will see that the stats on that page come from the log file of one highly technical website. It does not reflect much more broadly collected statistics.

    "Anyway, our data, collected from W3Schools' log-files, over a five year period, clearly shows the long and medium-term trends."

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  26. Who cares about iPhone, it has .6% market share?

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  27. So we should just give up hope that anything will ever change. It's a Microsoft world, and we should just get used to the stench.
    Is that what the Microsoft shillosphere wants us to get?

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  28. You're right.

    But Chrome is what I would do if I was in Google's shoes. One little Flash ad shouldn't crash my entire browser with 30 windows open. Last time that happened I lost an embarrassing amount of work, because my session saver restored the wrong form, things went downhill from there. Another session saver incident restored a php script which wasn't ready to go live, near-endless loop shut down all my sites, took out several severs, etc. As far as javascript optimization goes, I recently had to upgrade my PC to keep all these little add-ons, gadgets and Flash apps running reasonably fast. If Chrome works it will save everyone time/money, and I think we will see better web apps.

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  29. Stop supporting IE6 and this issue will vanish. Once other choices gain traction then IE6 will further vanish. Stop the madness.

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  30. Great post! I can only agree with you on this. I am web producer at a company which creates web-based enterprise software and seeing the huge number of corporate users that still use IE6 drives me mad!

    I am glad Crome is based on Webkit, I hope this means that I will not have to test my stuff on yet another browser. (I already test my apps on Adobe AIR which also uses Webkit)

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  31. You are right, I'd like to know, too, how much money and time is wasted to make pages work on this old piece of software- I don't say "crap", because some years ago it was the best available browser. But times have really changed and so every new browser which is based on great frameworks and technology can only be welcome.
    Chrome is such a thing - it combines best frameworks and best software design in one product. So you are right, Google will not make a better world for web designers and developers, but every W3C compliant browser is a step in the right direction.

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  32. Based on the short time I've spent with Chrome - it is amazingly clean AND fast. The beauty of it is it's opensource, based on existing technology (webkit) so there is no need to test on a new browser.

    It's relevant - give it some time.

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  33. Being a long-time Firefox devotee, it's frustrating that Google Chrome seems to get more buzz for the same buck. Then again, Mozilla isn't a publicly-traded behemoth.

    If it came pre-installed by PC vendors, it has a chance, otherwise it'll remain a niche/early-adopter product, regardless of its speed and enhanced security & stability features. The average user will never upgrade, the average corporation will never accept "non standard software" not sold by some monopolist.

    I view the product as a reference product leading to greater things. It's a dissemination of great value at zero cost, which is a prime example of what the Internet is all about. It suits Google's current business model.

    And compared to other products like IE8+, I likely will not have to worry about crashing or re-installing my OS upon installing an upgrade (note: Firefox upgrades are flawless to me).

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  34. The 'Great Unwashed' [GU] hate to learn new things, especially anythings with entirely new looks and learning curves. This, in spite of the fact that IE6 is mindbogglingly dangerous to use. CHROME will benefit from helpful folks sitting down with members of the GU and personally walking them through the nifty features of this new browser and where to find things within the app. I'll be doing my part ...

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  35. Agree with pretty much all said.

    I'm guessing the new G Chrome will compete, down the road with IE and FF. FF is probably a little ticked off since G has been really talking them up and pushing FF everywhere.

    My question is, how much did the people over at FF give G in terms of browser secrets and technology?

    I'll try the new Chrome, we'll see what works best. Till now, all is talk. Looking forward to it.

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  36. I expect Google can obtain a much greater penetration than FF. Not least because all their apps (from the search home page to gmail) can offer: "this app would be so much better/faster/secure if you install chrome"; and once it installs it offers to become the default browser. If it installs fast and flawlessly (which i believe google can do), then even the GU will start using it. Hopefully, we will see an acceptance curve more like Adobe's Flash than Firefox. (if you were not in the industry would you even know that FF existed? or how to find/install it??)

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  38. This article is moot. Google Chrome has beat everyone's expectations I think. V8 is definitely worth while to upgrading. A few minor graphical problems (with PNG backgrounds and opacity, see http://script.aculo.us )

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  39. For our company, we have to use IE6 as our ERP system doesn't run perfectly with IE7 or FF. Therefore I generally run both IE6 and FF, depending on what I am doing.

    For our company in general, initially when IE7 came out, much of our company upgraded to it -- but it became necessary to revert back to IE6 so the ERP system would run as intended.

    The point: in some instances (likely at other large companies in addition to ours), it's an integral application dictating the browser that gets used for everything else. (Which is sort of the converse of what most others have been championing so far in this thread)

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  40. Chrome is CrazyBrowser done (more) correctly and as timely in terms of goals.

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  41. You stats for browser market share are incorrect...

    http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid=0#

    Jeremy Horn
    The Product Guy
    http://tpgblog.com

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  42. Perhaps someone needs to read the info comic a little more closely ... Chrome promises to indeed be exciting for developers not to mention a good browser. Now I'm currently under its hood right now and so far am really liking what I've seen.

    and ps - FF4 promises to be using WebKit as well.

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  43. You've missed the real story, it ain't Crome, it's v8. v8 is a from the ground up multi-threaded, JIT compiling, open source dynamic language runtime written by some of the best VM hackers around. Guess what's going to happen when VM folks from the Ruby, Python, Scheme, and Smalltalk communities get their hands on a multi-threaded VM that was actually written with dynamic languages in mind?

    All of the attempts to get dynamic languages running on top of popular modern static language runtimes have ran into a huge roadblock that required emulation layers to add dynamic abilities onto VM's that just weren't designed for it, and performance has seriously suffered as a result.

    v8 could end up being the defacto standard runtime for just about every dynamic language out there and give them a huge kick in the pants performance jump and with a common VM beneath them, possibly open up new abilities for inter-operating with other dynamic languages in the same way the .Net CLR allows near seamless access of the .Net framework to multiple languages.

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  44. I agree with you completely, the fact that IE6 has 25% (and IE7 has 50%) means that people go with the default. My Mom does not know how to download and install a new browser, and she has no desire to do so.

    But the real potential here is computers which ship with Chrome as the default. Imagine a Linux box with Chrome, running all AJAX applications. Right now the user experience isn't as good as Windows, but that could change over time.

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  45. Understand your frustration. We spend loads of time coding for *$%*$&ing IE6 at retaggr.

    But another shiny new browser, pushed by everyone's favourite benign dictator, means many many more chances for those IE6 users to get exposed to the idea that another (better) browser exists. Lets hope ;)

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  46. Why does everything suck? Partly due to the vast hordes of pseudo-tech pundits who totally miss the point when confronted with the leading edge of a real paradigm shift.

    If Google does it right, chrome will attract large numbers of initial users by providing a really good experience for existing users of Google applications.

    Google (and others) will then leverage chrome as the application platform for the first generation of WEB 3.0 apps that will ONLY run decently on top of chrome. For lots of people, chrome will become essential as Google takes a page from the MS playbook.

    Ultimately these apps will run on computing platforms from Androids on up.

    You apparently will be stuck developing lame Web 2.0 stuff.

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  47. "I’d love to see a study of how much time is wasted developing special case crap for IE 6." - Yeah, me too!

    But don't expect people using IE6 to care about (or even notice) Chrome either. The people who are most likely to download Chrome are probably already using Firefox (or maybe Opera). The problem with the rest is that most of them are lazy and/or uninformed. Until we see other browsers pre-installed on new computers (which Google could make happen), Microsoft will most likely maintain it's #1 position.

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  48. Watch out for the "benign dictator." Does anyone really believe the "do no evil" aspect ... can a multi-billion dollar public corporation avoid using our data for their own ends, for growth that wall street requires?

    That they say "do no evil" makes me even MORE nervous than if they were explicit about what they're really up to.

    "Make the web better" is great while they're rolling in cash, but what will they do when times get tough for them?

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  49. This is embarassing, but my attitude was also 'so what' until I read the comic. A lot of what's cool w/ Chrome is internal. As more and more ppl develop RIAs, the value of Chrome will become more clear (if it lives up to it's promise), and people will adopt it.

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  50. As I type this in my newly installed Google browser I ponder why I have 4 browsers on my machine (IE, FF, Safari, Chrome). Can you go to Microsoft update site with Chrome? You can't with FF or Safari. Until Microsoft releases the less strangle hold on my OS I can't help but think no matter how good the next browser is Microsoft will keep their market share. Can you say Google OS?

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  51. It's not about unwashed, it's about cporporations that refuse to allow anythign except IE6.0. Solve that problem (i.e. convince them they can change browsers and fix their internal apps that break).

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  52. Still not an operating system. Feel free to call it application platform or why not browser which runs webapps really fast?

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  53. Here's another wrench for you - some of us are FORCED to use IE6. I don't have admin rights on my computer at work, so while I'm running IE8 beta at home and would love to do so here, there's just no way...

    I do agree with the poster who noted that Chrome at least gives attention to the problem and the press it's getting may very well help us come full circle.

    Only time will tell.

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  54. >>Chrome, from a business perspective, for the foreseeable future, is totally irrelevant.

    Unless you're making a browser. :)

    I think the most dangerous thing we can do in business downplay the relevance of things. There are always lessons we can learn - technical, academic, strategic, whatever.

    Did anyone notice how much content flew through the web as a result of the Chrome release? If only Google was an advertising company, they'd have made a lot of money. Oh wait, they *are* in the business of advertising.

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  55. Chrome essentially started from the same reason Firefox started. IE has already started watching what Firefox has been doing and making changes accordingly. Chrome and Google's position in releasing Chrome to the public will increase the public's awareness as well as the browser development community's interest in Chrome's features.

    Google wants to do more with their webapps, this is the best way to make it possible. They no longer will have to wait for these features to be ideas in some feature request forum, they are now solid and people are showing that they want these features. Doesn't hurt to give more viewing space either.

    I installed this for my girlfriend and mother because of their limited needs for a browser. They love it. I installed it at home and at work and it's now my primary browser. I'm a Web Developer (PHP Programmer primarily) and even though Chrome lacks features like Add-ons, etc.. I still prefer to do all of my researching using Google Chrome, on the rare occasion that I'm having problems debugging, I pop open my Firefox as easy as I pop up my IE when I need to test.

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  56. Chrome is important because it is likely to be better than Firefox. Neither is likely, any time in the forseeable future, to really be a threat to IE's market dominance, but Chrome may pretty-much displace Firefox. Already, its market share is coming almost purely from Firefox and Safari users.

    And that's fine with me...Firefox really isn't a viable alternative to IE for most people. I have been a professional web developer for 14 years. Back when I started, I believe Netscape was at version 1.1 or 1.2, and there were still people whining that its support of images were going to doom the Internet; the web should be all-text, like gopher.

    Back then, Netscape was constantly upsetting the anal-retentive authority-worshipping bureaucrats, by adding new tags and other "non-standards-compliant" technology.

    And that's why it stomped the bleep out of Mosaic and the other browsers. People need to experiment with new ideas, not wait for the bureaucrats to foolishly guess what is needed, from their ivory towers.

    Then Netscape blundered, releasing crappy versions with unstable technology, then gave up and spawned Mozilla (I was one of the first on that bandwagon)...but Mozilla was obsessed with slavishly obeying standards (although it took YEARS for them to finally even catch up with those), and so Firefox was never able to really dent IE's power.

    At least Chrome is faster and more stable than Firefox. The memory separation for the various processes is more than enough reason to prefer it. I'm so effing tired of Firefox ending up devouring five hundred megs of RAM on my system, just because I leave it running twenty four seven.

    Note that I'm not a huge Google side-project fan. I still prefer Yahoo Mail over Google Mail...but Chrome is a winner.

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  57. I say, we don't need another browser that needs a special care. I'm tired to death of all this browser supporting.
    I ran a couple of pages in Chrome and felt quite disappointed with the output.

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  58. Since I haven't taken the time to read thru 57 comments, I'm sure I'm repeating something that's already been said. But Hank, I'm sure you must know that the only reason IE6 has 25% market share is because thousands of corporations with millions of desktop PCs won't bother to upgrade. They have no incentive. Heck, most of them don't want their employees doing much websurfing anyway, so any wrench they can throw into that activity is a bonus for them.

    Whenever you conduct any sort of conversation about market share in the PC industry, it's always helpful to distinguish between enterprise and consumer. By using IE6's market share to support your argument against Chrome's relevance, you imply that the millions of people sitting in front of corporate desktops would choose IE6 if given a choice. And we all know thats not true.

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  59. Steven,

    It is I am sure true that a large part (though not by any measure all) of the people using IE6 are in corporations that require it.

    Its irrelevant to the point.

    The bottom line is the 25% represents 25% of the surfers on the internet. These people are using the internet and if you dont make sure you are supporting them, and you have a mainstream application, you are throwing away 25% of your audience. Interestingly enough, the corporate user is actually probably among the most likely users to pay for anything as opposed to consumers so to suggest in some way that they can be discounted because they are corporate is actually inverted.

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  60. I use IE6 on purpose because I actively dislike IE7. Maybe if microsoft didn't feel the need to screw with the user experience every couple years I would have adopted IE7 when it came out.

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  61. I have been a web developer for about 10 years and whilst I'm primarily a .Net developer I have no allegiance to any software company or browser. I have IE7, FF, Chrome and all the standalone versions of IE (down to ver. 3) on my machine, I mostly use FF but sometimes I do maintenance on old CRMs and CMSs that only work in IE. I use Chrome to launch my GMail 'cause I like the application shortcut feature. Basically I interchange my broswers depending on the task at hand. Why do people have this thing that it has to be one or the other?

    One argument is that Google are releasing Chrome so as to make their applications perform better. We're all jumping on this "powerful web application" bandwagon but there is one huge limit to this which everybody seems to have forgotten about, including google - connectivity. What happens when an internet connection drops? If your organisation decided to axe the Microsoft Office set of products and everybody used Google Applications, what would happen if you had a major internet connection issue? Would you send people home because they could no longer type out reports or spreadsheets etc? As a developer I'm all for powerful web applications but I think we're a long way off having all our collaboration tools online, and getting rid of powerful OSs.

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  62. Hank,
    I am not suggesting in any way that corporate users be discounted. However, when you say that corporate users are more likely to pay for stuff, 99% of the time that is an IT department which probably has a total disincentive to upgrade because they have some legacy piece of crap software which is critical to their business which will only work w/IE6. The employees who are actually sitting in front of those workstations obviously do not have the option of buying a piece of software and installing it. However, those employees do go home eventually, and for them, Chrome will matter.

    Now if you are saying that, as a developer, your target is to develop software for those who are more likely to be willing to pay you (businesses), but who apparently care so little about modern browser capabilities that nearly a quarter are still using 10-year-old technology, then yes, I can see where Chrome would appear less than relevant to you. But me, as someone who turns off my $199.95 Dell at the end of work and runs home to my Mac, I'am looking forward to Chrome.

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  63. In 1996 I bought Netscape Navigator 2.0 for $23 on a CD.

    IE had the virtue of offering a free browser that caused a legal war because they bundled it with Windows. Opera had a niche and Netscape slept, so IE conquered the market.

    Netscape sold to AOL, made a new dud version and nearly disappeared. Somebody woke up and, behold, we got Mozilla and eventually FireFox.

    Now, with great fanfare we get Chrome. It’s nice they made it open source so others can incorporate their improvements, but Chrome as all 1.0 versions, is still green around the edges, and for my taste, a little too user friendly (hard to tweak/configure).

    The computer illiterates that I know will continue to use IE, just to avoid headaches, and the savvy will gleefully participate in the FireFox / Chrome diatribe. I’m sure maybe 1% of the world population will get all exited about it.

    I wonder why Google spent so much money on a free browser... hmmm

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  64. My 2 cents: I think that this post oversimplies the issue. More importantly, I would like to point out something behind the key statistic quoted here - 25% market share for IE 6.0.

    Point 1: Most probably, a significant number of these 25% users have not upgraded to IE 7.0 is because they might be using non-licensed version of Windows - so they can not upgrade to later version of IE. Now, they have a choice of getting Firefox - but then, google has much deeper reach and much bigger brand than Firefox - so there is a real chance that many of these 25% users might shift more readily to Chrome.

    Point 2: For similar reasons, anyone with a propensity to use a non MS browser (FF) will be more susceptible to shift to Chrome.

    So we have a 20%FF plus a significant portiion of the 25% IE6 market as prime target for conversion to Chrome.

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  65. I agree with the author when hie says that in a near future nothing will change. But it is also true that IE is on a decreasing trend. Slow trend but continuous. and Microsoft reasearches show that the strength of IE is ONLY in being the gold standard of the web. If some competition will appear, if IE goes back to the role of a "normal" browser, if in some sense many players will be in the market together with Microsoft, all the "positive network effects" for IE will disappear, and this will another reason to leave it.

    Moreover: young people are DEFINITIVELY more oriented to try new browsers. They now have the opportunity to discuss of Internet even at school. The web is not like a Word processor, it's not something limited to the professional world, in which Microsoft leads. Surfing the web is an expression of personal freedom and from this point of view the young people of today will be the "big mass" of tomorrow. The difference betnween them and the "olds" like us is that they have grown having in mind that there are several ways to surf the web, not only the blue icon you find on the desktop when you buy a PC.

    What I want to say in the end is that it seems (fortunatly) that many competitive actors area really enetring the web arena. We suffered for years the existence of a single - LAZY!!! - player, now hopefully the web has become a free marekt and a technology playground.

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  66. Really too soon to tell, but Google may just have enough corporate clout to get manufacturers to incorporate Chrome into new systems by default. Much like some (I just configured a few new HP's) now deliver Google/AOL Toolbar by default. That would represent a significant opportunity to break the consumer market away from IE as a whole.

    On the other hand, I also just finished a job with a large bank, and they are still "talking" about doing thier Win2K to WinXP upgrade, now, in 2008. Are they planning to upgrade to IE7? Oddly, no, they plan to stay with IE6 because of [internal] compatability and security issues (Am I missing something here? Even Microsoft tells the GU to upgrade IE6 *because* of security issues). I suspect that the IT folks there and the world over are just too lazy to do the upgrade (I assume it's not because they don't know *how* to do the upgrade).

    To sum, Chrome may just be sufficiently backed by corporate money (Chrome will want to be on desktops for exactly the same strategic reasons as Toolbar) to dent the consumer market by simply being able to be as equally present as IE.

    On the other hand, the enterprise market may be a tough nut to crack. To do this, you need a compelling consumer application that catches the eye of CEO types, who then compel the IT departments to upgrade so they can use such a consumer application for enterprise. Not so farfetched an idea -- my firm just converted one client completely to Google Apps -- attendant with a broad based switch to new browsers (semi-sadly IE7).

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  67. why do people use ie6? because i use safari as it came pre-installed with Leopard. agreed, ie6 and safari are not comparable, but installing additional software is painful, even if it is necessary, especially for less tech savvy people. On top of it, it is and *feels* like a small and lightweight browser and most importantly, developers support it sinking vast amounts of time for hackery instead of educating their user by showing a nice message like 'please upgrade your browser'.

    chrome though is good at starting quick, rendering and running js fast

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  68. "Anyway, if someone doesn't know what a browser is (and is using IE6), are they likely to be using your hyper social networking web application mashup"

    Virtually all consumers have zero technical savvy, hence they're paying us to do that work.

    "Most large company IT depts haven't upgraded to IE 7 (nor vista). That accounts for a lot of the 25%."

    No self-respecting IT dept. would use Vista.

    "Firefox - why start Chrome? Firefox is an awesome browser and is doing great - why not support it further?"

    Firefox has been given four years now and has shown it refuses to address its glaring issues (Did anyone fix that memory leak yet?)

    "Stop supporting IE6 and this issue will vanish. Once other choices gain traction then IE6 will further vanish. Stop the madness."

    Stop supporting IE6 and you will see your turnover come to a full stop overnight.
    Services are supposed to cater to clients, refuse to extend it and they will simply go elsewhere.

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  69. Why does everything on the Internet suck because it requires Microsoft Internet Explorer period ???!

    Can someone help me understand this?
    ya I know, at first, it may appear like asking why is Microsoft so Big but it isn't.
    The Internet is public domain and Microsoft's low ball, grey-area legal plastic knive tactics on trying to control this Internet medium (with IE6\7\8\9\...\whatever) is taxing to say the least.
    So WHAT if I want to use Firefox or Opera, why does all these little things like msn/hotmail suddenly stop working ? why does 75% of the INTERNET suck !!! -unless I be forced to use Microsoft Internet Explorer. ?

    Basically, Firefox and Opera are just broken-down pieces of absolutely USELESS junk, compared to Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    Even though, we are simply just talking about a GOSH-DAMNED STUPID F_CKIN WEB BROWSER -as in just one of those TCP/IP Protocols people, http on port 80, 8080,... whatever ?!!!

    Why can't all the web-devs, coders,... from Firefox to Opera get this darn Internet thing together. ? Instead, the whole world has to suffer with "...oh your not using "IE" ? well then f_ckoff !!!".
    soooo sick of this. If I buy a Honda the ROAD doesn't tell me "oh your not using a GM Escalade ? so you have to f_ckoff ?!!!"

    I've wasted more money and time contributing to certain Linux Distro's, as well as OpenBSD/FreeBSD than I have ever spent on Microsoft Products. And for what ?! Its been 20 years now.
    And now, "...Can OpenSolaris offer a better and more lucrative venture for both web developer and client(s)..." ? -oh no, not this again :)

    In fact, you can't even buy a PC\Laptop today without Microsoft Vista (Yes "V" as in Venereal disease) pre-installed on it.
    Geeeezus lord in heaven lets wake up. -your CLIENTS aren't being catered to at all people, they're being told what they will see and/or hear.
    Most "Clients" are like Lemmings "WYSIWYG"

    Mr. Torvalds has a Mansion next door to Bill Gates in New Jersey AND Norway ?
    How did all this happen so fast ? Does Microsoft really own this cesspool of an Internet now? -sadly YES!

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  70. ...I didn't mean to hijack your blog, with my above comment and ya chrome is cool -good luck and success.

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  71. I agree with your post! At least to the degree of IE6 holding us back 7 years! in webdevelopment on every front!
    Though I have to say that Chrome is THE CHANCE to make up for all this holding back. IE8 is a disaster to happen.
    Soon my HTMLcode will be filled with myriads of meta tags and loads of [if IE?]-conditions....to just make a passable site.

    Of all the browsers, Chrome, despite it's flashy name, is the most approachable browser for the masses. I mean, everybody knows google, right? I just wish Google would UP their marketing. Google you hear me! Fire those 'doing nothing but relaxing all day'-employees of yours and UP IT!!!!

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  72. I don't believe 71 comments on this crap of article...

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  73. Forget the browsers out there, can you imagine if Adobe or Sun Micro Systems made a browser!

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  74. The current usage of Chrome indicates a progression towards this type of environment. We all used IE 6 back in the day, we had to. For now - only us devs will use Chrome, as I do, for the brilliance of the experience. From a business sense you are correct.. give it a few years and our kernals will contain the entire Google search index.

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  75. wha' up bro!, goo to find a bro in the it maket,
    Obama is the man!
    Chrome sucks, chrome is kkk buhh!!!

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  76. Um, maybe you should check your stats before writing. It's funny everyone just excepted what you said about ie beating firefox handily. Apparently no one checks the w3 statistics or really knows who they're developing for these days.

    Firefox isn't just putting up a fight - they're winning! That's correct. If you look at the statistics, firefox now officially has more users than any other browser, including all versions of ie combined. (http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp)

    Firefox is beating IE and will continue to increase it's lead because IE isn't making any great strides. Google is much more well known than Mozilla and a much more powerful company. You're probably right about not caring about Chrome for now, but that's because it's still in beta and Google isn't pushing it. I'll bet it won't take long for Chrome to be way up there when they release a full version - remember, almost everyone uses google's search engine. All they have to do is put a prominent link next to their search bar and they'll surpass IE in a year.

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  77. I noticed the comment that pointed out that w3 statistics are skewed a bit because they are taken off a technical website. Good point. However, I found a much more reliable website that takes its statistics off of over 15,000 sites. It had Firefox as about 31%, more than IE6 or IE7 (but not both combined). My point still stands that microsoft is not beating firefox handily and google is in a position to gain market share incredibly fast when it wants to since most everyone uses google regularly.

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  78. Dallin, w3schools is a web developers site and shows trends of developers in the know of other browsers, not the general consumer.

    As for chrome, its now my browser of choice for general use, including this post.

    Firefox I use for keeping pages open over several days when working on a project, along with my KillFirefox script and its auto restore.

    IE I only use for online banking (my bank only supports IE) and testing webpages.

    I like the idea of advising IE6 users to upgrade, will use it on my next site I think. But not providing backwards support is just bad practice, we have to guide people on there way rather than say they have to do it now or else.

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  79. Two notes: for all of the bad talk about IE6, it was a good product when it was released--it's just outdated. And concerning Microsoft's "criminal" lack of effort to push the upgrade to IE7, I'm sure part of it has to do with the EU and other governments threatening them with Monopoly suits regarding their browser.

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  80. I have to disagree. Chrome is pretty nice. Easy to use and fast. If only it would remember passwords.

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  81. I agree with Hank's 25% market share for IE6. I work for the biggest bank in Australia with a customer base of 2.5mil customer and we have similar stats, about a quarter on IE6, and half on IE7. total Firefox usage around 20%.
    I can also tell you our corporate environment is still using IE6 :P

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  82. you are totally wrong, Google Chrome is dominating. It is so much faster than FF and IE and it can read many JavaScript and CSS strings that FF and IE cannot process and then assume it as an error. IE sucks anyway, including the latest version, IE8.

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  83. Pushing users from IE6 to ANY browser is great. The downside with Chrome is that it is yet another browser that will need supporting if it actually succeeds. And that's almost as bad as letting IE6 sit there rotting.

    The prime reason IE6 still exists is the corporate world. They wrote their internal sites to all work in IE6 and aren't going to spend any money upgrading their internal sites, so they force users to be on IE6. IE8 at least has removed this as an issue so that it will not happen with the IE7 to IE8 transition. If they had done that with IE7, IE6 would be extinct.

    As it stands the newly released IE8 is already ahead of the months old Chrome. The only saving grace is that testing in Chrome will ensure you have very few issues in Safari. It is still very much a 'beta' browser, despite the version number.

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  84. why would i use chrome? IE is far better than chrome! And in IE i CAN have a pop-up blocker (even if i have to pay for it). take that google crap! and stick it up your bunghole

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  85. As a user, there is no doubt that Chrome performs WAY better than any other browser. That's the only reason anyone cares about it at all. The world definitely doesn't need another mediocre web browser.

    As a developer, Chrome save me valuable time in waiting for the screen to load after each change. Seems like a small thing to gripe about but when you are constantly updating code, switching to the browser, refreshing, and seeing the change, then a decrease of a couple of seconds for each iteration can really add up.

    As far as how Chrome affects the market, I could care less. I'm ready for more companies to start producing software that works and works well right out of the box. I only see Chrome gaining more momentum from here on out.

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  86. I see this post/blog story is old but, The "Death of IE6" is close at hand. Once it drops below 10% usage just consider it obsolete. This maybe a big reason Windows performance compared to Apples is so crappy. They have incorp. IE into it. Most recent IE stats.

    www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

    HBnCDesign.com

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  87. A great article, because its now a year since you wrote this, and guess what - You were right!!!

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  88. I believe the only reason google made a browser is so they can force ads on everybody and track there user habbits. Sorry ill stay with firefox

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  89. You are RETARDED!!! Chrome ROCKS!!!

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  90. Uhhh.. I know the article is a bit outdated, but much of what was written is no longer valid. Chrome was launched on the day this post was written. So, we have a self-proclaimed 'boundry pusher' who is scrutinizing a service on the day it's launched.

    Well anyway.. most of what you say is no longer valid. IE's market share keeps dropping and Chrome already (in 2 years) has 8,5% of the market share. Its pretty impressive!

    IE is consistently the biggest market-share loser of them all!

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  91. IE anything sucks and Firefox crashes alot more often than Chrome. Its '011 and I feel Chrome is the better browser.

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  92. I really enjoy to read this awesome blog post.
    Inspiring!

    iPhone Application Developer

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  93. Superb one! I have never read such a nice article; topic and the comments are good. I have learned many things from all your post and this one was the best post for me. I really enjoyed reading it and craving more tips from you… thank you for such an engaging article.

    Professional Degree I Logo Design

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