Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

Summary: Google dipped its mighty toe into the increasingly crowded world of internet browsers today with the announcement of its open source offering, Chrome.

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After all the polished promises of a streamlined new way to tame the web, the blogosphere was ready to predict Chrome would inspire everything from the end of Firefox to the demise of Microsoft itself.

silicon.com spoke to industry experts and Google's new rivals to find out why Chrome matters and whether the browser reality can deliver on the hype.

Internet Explorer's stranglehold
The average computer user tends to lack the technical know-how or motivation to change from their default browser, Internet Explorer, giving Microsoft around 60 per cent of the market without even trying. Despite being the only really viable alternative to IE's domination, Firefox has struggled to gain above 20 per cent of the market.

In spite of Google's huge brand leverage analysts feel Chrome could still struggle to gain a foothold when faced with consumers who prefer to stick with what they know.

David Mitchell, VP for IT research at analysts Ovum, said: "Internet Explorer is still used by about 60 to 70 per cent of people and there is a big chunk of the population who are remarkably reticent to change platform.

"I think that Google will grab market share but whether they will knock IE off the top spot is another scenario."

Microsoft itself is confident of IE's unassailability. The company said: "The browser landscape is highly competitive but people will choose Internet Explorer 8 for the way it puts the services they want right at their fingertips, respects their personal choices about how they want to browse and puts them in control of their personal data online."

Bad track record
Despite Google's search dominance, its other homegrown applications have failed to attract anywhere near the same popularity.

It was one of the first companies to enter the social networking market with orkut but the site remains largely unknown outside of Brazil, and despite being launched before YouTube, Google Video always failed to match its popularity, eventually forcing Google to buy up its rival.

Similarly, despite being perhaps the most well-known Google branded app outside of search, Gmail still lags behind Windows Live Hotmail.

Nate Elliott, research director at analysts Jupiter Research, said: "In most cases the products that Google has delivered on its own have failed.

"To achieve success they have had to buy in services from elsewhere and not build them themselves."

Google backlash
With the Google brand already ubiquitous worldwide, could the sheer scale of the search giant's reach start to scare consumers? Tor Odland, head of communications for rival browser Opera, thinks the brand's attempted dominance could prompt an anti-Microsoft style backlash against lack of choice.

He said: "You have to ask whether people want to use products and services from only one company. It is a return to the days of Microsoft.

"I wonder how people will feel about being so tied into one company - the one thing that the online world has taught us is that people like choice."

Damage to Google services
Google has traditionally taken a cross platform approach to its services and worked closely with its soon-to-be rivals Opera and Mozilla, and recently renewed a deal with Mozilla that puts Google as the default search in Firefox. Focusing on Chrome could see those all-important bonds start to loosen.

Odland said: "It is important that they keep testing their services for compatibility with other browsers.

"We hope that they will continue to work with Opera and Mozilla to deliver a better internet experience."

Jupiter Research's Elliott believes Google is hedging its bets: "They have given themselves plenty of time to make progress in the browser market while maintaining a strong presence in Firefox."

How to get it out there?
There is also the question of how Google will get Chrome onto people's computers in the first place. Will it take the Apple approach of bundling it with other application downloads as Apple did with Safari and iTunes or Sun's bundling of Java downloads with OpenOffice.

Ovum's Mitchell said: "One thing that has not been made clear is what is their distribution strategy? Are they going to rely on downloads straight from the Google site or follow the lead of Apple?"

Jupiter Research's Elliott said: "Firefox is by all accounts a fantastic browser and still has less than 20 per cent browser share. That speaks volumes about how big an advantage Microsoft has by installing IE on PCs."

On the other hand, see why Chrome may well be the next big thing...

Topics: Browser, Google, Microsoft

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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112 comments
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  • Beta version not stable

    Atleast the beta version of Google Chrome is not stable, even though it is fast and light weight. See some screen shots of Chrome crashing minutes after use - [b]http://www.indiastudychannel.com/resources/35865-Google-chrome-reviews.aspx[/b].
    matojo2006
    • The process seperation and sandboxing is best of class

      conasidering this is version 0.01 that the public have seen, so far this is looking amazing.
      What will they build on top of the browser?
      I think: local Google Gears apps for Google Apps. These will replicate the data from the server, but run very fast locally.
      This means a superfast machine independent office suite.
      The future will be insteresting indeed!
      stevey_d
    • My reason

      I like Chrome for its speed but one of my chief uses of a browser is to access my bank accounts via EGG and IE6-8 or Outlook are the only ones that do this.
      Also I miss 'AutoFill'.
      syhprum1@...
    • A chrome beta is NOT forcing a "work in progress" down consumer throats!

      It's for early adopters, that's why it's tagged as beta. What do you expect?

      Microsoft, on the other hand, are happy to lie, over-promote themselves and laughably FORCE a WORK-IN-PROGRESS (not my words) _OPERATING SYSTEM_ down the consumers throats. The sooner Microsoft die the better.

      Go Google, go, go go!!!!!!
      fr0thy2
  • RE: Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

    Chrome isn't going to crash and burn. Not a hope.
    Google puts lots of widgety little applications out
    there, like Picaso, for instance.

    Even if Chrome does not slay IE, it is a good little
    browser with an excellent (and simple UI) that zips
    along faster than any other browser out there.

    Crash and burn? Not a chance. Nada.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • Agreed, and it's SOOOOOOOOOOOO fast!!!!!!

      With web apps coming in at tens of thousands of lines of Javascript it really is a no brainer ;-)
      fr0thy2
  • RE: Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

    The key reason they developed their own browser was for mobile browsing, which is expected to be more and more dominant in coming years. Chrome would be a good browser for the Google Android mobile platform - at least as good as Safari on the iPhone.

    To understand Google, you have to think about the future like Google.
    theArgiope
    • And to stop CheatingLyingBuggySoft from making IE GoogleApps incompatible!

      Not only is IE horrifically slow for anything web-appy, but we all know that ScumSoft will (and probably already are) "fiddling" with their pile of junk of a browser to break things in Google Apps so that they can force their ill-thought out strategies and create future monopolistic lock-ins. Can't have Google driving things forward, we MUST OWN EVERYTHING, no matter what the consequences to mankind!!!!!
      fr0thy2
      • DUDE!

        Try Valium....
        bentedgz
        • LOL

          No need, all my work is done on software that works, so that's not necessary.
          fr0thy2
  • RE: Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

    For those of us who enjoy avoiding microsoft, and are
    tired of Firefox hogging memory and crashing, Chrome
    looks like a pretty good choice. Sure, maybe beta is
    not perfectly stable yet, but still, it has a light
    footprint, runs pretty fast, is easy on the eye and
    does a few cool things. If somehow they could
    incorporate the advantages of Firefox with its
    extensions for gmail, it would be perfect.
    James Joseph
    • So very happy

      ?We are so, so happy with Google Chrome,? mumbled Mozilla CEO John Lilly through gritted teeth. ?That most of our income is from Google has no bearing on me making this statement.? http://notnews.today.com/?p=57
      David Gerard
      • re: So very happy

        yeah, use a fake quote from an obviously joke news site... the actual representatives have been very positive, it doesn't have to be a game where only one person wins and they realize it.
        Insaniac99@...
        • What?

          That was a joke news site! Oh my god.......Thank you! I was hoping the browser would really make me a cup of tea.
          micks_tricks
  • RE: Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

    It lacks a File-Edit-View menu. I really really dislike not having a File Edit View menu at the top. That's one reason why I don't use IE7.

    It's not even compatible with Google applications.

    Chrome won't run Google Lively as of yesterday, for instance.

    I would think that even for a beta Google would have made sure that all Google apps, release or still in beta, would work in their own browser.

    Chrome crashed on several occasions when FF, Opera, Flock, IE7, etc. wouldn't have flinched.
    chuckbaggett1
    • File-Edit-View in IE7

      Well, no offense, but if you can't turn on the file edit view etc... toolbar in IE7, you're probably one of the people mentioned in the story who just stick with the preinstalled browser.
      Unkie Tripps
    • re file edit view

      Try looking around, it is all there, if you look.
      knightrider2@...
  • RE: Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

    I think you are missing a key point here. Chrome is being released as open source, anyone can take what they like about of Chrome, build on it, and add it to their own browsers. No strings attached. As they said in their information comic, "Google lives on the internet". I don't think it's about the browser, it's about pushing out new ideas for others to build on.
    yox
    • Mankind working together instead of lying and robbing each other.

      That's what the Open Source nature of Chrome will give us.

      Eventually MS will see an investor run, people are sick of them and their shoddy products. The Vista debacle is no surprise. It's typical Microsoft, it doesn't matter how junk the software is, it's simply time to rob illiterate computer users to feed the greedy once again, no matter the upheaval. Well, people are starting to see the pattern, and with all of that history, only idiots would go the MS web apps/cloud way. If you want lock-in and abuse, well, keep paying the lock-in abuser to stay around.

      If you want progress, stop feeding the greedy liars who release "work-in-progress" software as a massively over-hyped "future of computing".

      Whenever people come to me with Windows problems I just laugh at them and tell them that it's their fault if they want to run Windows. Same as it's a heroin addicts fault for taking heroin.
      fr0thy2
  • RE: Five reasons why Chrome will crash and burn

    if you are going to title an article 5 reasons...
    the least you can do is list the 5 reasons....
    I looked and didnt see what I thought were 5 good reasons.

    lets review:
    1. IE dominance and people's reluctance to change
    2. Google's Poor track record
    3. Google Backlash? This one is weak IMHO...
    4. Deployment Strategy. maybe
    5. ??? i didnt see any more, looks more like a couple reasons why google needs to plan the rollout of their
    product once its out of beta. a little early to be signaling failure, i think...
    dealyb