Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

Summary: Google execs say the lifetime value of a Chrome user is extremely valuable to the company. "Chrome is a guaranteed locked-in user for us in terms of having access to Google," says CFO Patrick Pichette.

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TOPICS: Browser, Google
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Google's Chrome browser historically has looked like just another side project for the company. Sure Chrome is a speedy browser. Sure Google has garnered impressive market share in a short time. And yes Google gets to push browser development a bit.

But the real importance of Chrome---and why Google is marketing the browser so heavy around the world---boils down to the lifetime value of a Chrome user.

CFO Patrick Pichette was asked about the importance of Chrome on the company's earnings conference call and his answer bonks you over the head.

There are really two stories on Chrome. There is a tactical question and there is a strategic question. Chrome is really pushing the Web, and it has a fantastic opportunity that, when people have adopted Chrome, they basically instead of looking for Google and looking for search, the omnibox gives them immediate access to Google search. So from a strategic perspective, it has that in Chrome OS. On a tactical basis, everybody that uses Chrome is a guaranteed locked-in user for us in terms of having access to Google.

Nikesh Arora, chief business officer at Google, also chimed in on the marketing ROI for pushing Chrome (image credit: Tinto via Flickr).

We have over 120 million daily users and 40% of them were added in the past year as a result of our marketing efforts. So you've seen the 30% growth quarter-over-quarter in our Chrome usage. So I think, from all perspectives, the Chrome strategy is working. The way we distribute Chrome is people get it organically or they get it based on our marketing efforts, or they see our marketing and they choose to download it, or we work with partners who help us promote Chrome to our users and to other users. So in that context, we found that marketing very often ends up with an equivalent or better ROI than us having to go to partnership deals. Sometimes you'll see that our TAC and our marketing around Chrome is fungible. Where we spend money and marketing, we take away from TAC as it relates to Chrome. So you can expect us to continue to drive Chrome strategically because it has not just a Chrome specific benefit for us but it also impacts many of our other products that work as part of Chrome. So the lifetime value of a Chrome user is phenomenal.

Boil those comments down and the Chrome returns look something like this:

  • A Chrome user can contribute to a feedback loop that improves search quality.
  • A Chrome user will use Google extensively with little to no slippage.
  • Google can spend less on traffic acquisition costs.
  • The company doesn't have to spend as much on distribution---think the fees for the Firefox search bar.
  • And this locked-in Google user is more likely to increase engagement as the company adds Chrome apps and social features down the line.

By the way, Chrome also gives Google a hand in browser standards, but that ROI seems decidedly naive when you consider the lifetime value of Chrome user.

Related:

Google's first quarter earnings miss projections; Page makes brief appearance

Topics: Browser, Google

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201 comments
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  • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

    chrome also holds a lot of data on the hard drive of the User.... Data which I suppose is accessible..... by google

    I am not a big fan of google, especially since android...

    keep it as a search engine and maintain that, it will not stagnate
    sfitservices
    • Chrome, Android, etc are only made to track users and sell their private

      @sfitservices: information to advertisers (context-type, most part).
      DDERSSS
      • Its all about ad revenue

        @denisrs No doubt. Google's bread and butter is ad revenue. Chrome and Android are just tools to get more information about people and tailor ads. I don't see this as evil. But it is what it is.
        jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @jscott418

        "Chrome and Android are just tools to get more information about people and tailor ads. I don't see this as evil."

        It isn't -- but if my personal information is a commodity to be bought and sold I think I should be the first to get paid -- and Chrome doesn't meet my price.
        The One True Fnerd
    • Chrome is a great product forcing Apple, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera to

      innoivate. The funny thing is that Google is funding Mozilla and Opera. That is just how important that fast, standards based, browsers are to Google. They are willing to saturate the market!!!!

      Funny hearing the Microsoft idiots howling as Chrome takes market share.
      DonnieBoy
      • Your post are as idiotic as ever DB

        @DonnieBoy
        I was reading the posts today. You never get tired of getting beat up, it would appear. If you're a representative of the level of Google supporters, the future looks quite bright for MS, Apple, HP...
        John Zern
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @DonnieBoy Bing - Google - Bing here comes DB...wow your sad.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @DonnieBoy You know the funny thing is , since you brought up funny. If they had said MS and the User Lock in phrase you would have been ALLLLLLLL over that with your goof idiotic posts. Yet when Google says it, your all worked up and ready for date night. will please make up your liberal mind and which way you want to go.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • Google is just like MS- a publicly traded business

        @DonnieBoy And do you know what the owners of Google want - a profit. And that means Google will compete. Just like MS competed. I agree that MS did not always compete fairly. And I suspect the same will be true of Google. And Google will end up patenting stuff, simply so that it can defend itself. Google is not about FOSS it is a business interested in making a profit. It uses FOSS as a disruptive way of competing with MS and Apple. But its search engine is very proprietary. I expect Richard Stallman to attack Google before long.
        DevGuy_z
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @DonnieBoy How is Chrome important to Apple. Both Chrome and Safari use WebKit?
        jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @DonnieBoy

        You want to back up the claim that Google is funding Opera?
        fairportfan
      • Google isn't funding Opera out of the kindness of their hearts

        Opera enables Google as their search engine and gets paid for it. Same with Firefox.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • MS Security and Botnets get no mention...

        @DonnieBoy

        ...but a Google text ad will stop the presses.
        Joe.Smetona
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @DonnieBoy ... How MUCH market share? As I understand it, the records aren't very good.
        tom@...
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @DonnieBoy funding yes, but also reaping the spoils. Get a finger in every pie and slowly solidify a totalitarian grasp on the market.
        sam -<a href="http://smuggecko.com">seo help</a>
        soskert
    • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

      @sfitservices
      IE stores a lot of data as well. Data you can't erase.
      itguy08
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @itguy08

        Like?
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @Cylon Centurion 0005
        The OP originally stated that Chrome holds a lot of data on Google without giving any specifics. I believe itguy08 was trying to show that you could make a baseless claim like that about any browser.
        anono
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @itguy08 Really - examples please, facts, links to examples... chirp, chrip, chirp - of the crickets.
        ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Why is Chrome so important to Google? It's a 'locked-in user'

        @itguy08
        And that's why I will not use either IE or Chrome. I like to keep my data as my data.
        12stringer1975