Google Chrome is not a browser

chrome_icon Every blog had posted about Google Chrome yesterday. So much text about single cute comic. Download came and every blog posted again (up to five times per blog) about that.

I had recently been accused of being un-cynical (contrary to my tagline). So here is my cynical thought on subject - Chrome doesn’t matter today and is not going to matter for some time.

Why? Read on.


Browser market is extremely saturated. It’s an area where two products is already close to “too many”. Currently we have :

  • Internet Explorer for everyone;
  • Firefox for those who don’t want to be everyone and those after extensions;
  • Firefox forks for those who want it without Firefox part;
  • Opera for those who need something that works and does a lot of stuff without much trouble;
  • obscure mods of everything abovementioned for those who want strange things.

Users want single browser. I am using Firefox a bit lately, mostly for Firebug (because of this blog). When browsing in it I become 3-4 times slower than usual. My brain is simply wired to Opera after all those years. Thought of third browser plain scares me - and I am ancient-level power user.

Making users switch is long and painful process. It takes years and you still have huge white areas on your conquest maps after that.

Tech is not success

There is very cool tech inside of Chrome. I am very impressed with it - at least for being fresh thoughts.

But who cares? New tech is not making other browsers obsolete. They still work fine. And with current features copy-pasting rate between browsers they are probably all going to offer similar stuff even before Chrome reaches usable level.

By the way - lots of people seem to ignore that it is version. And lacks everything but most basic functions.

Chrome is not a browser

May look like it, may work like it… But in reality Chrome is client for online applications. It is designed as one and made as one. It is close to being browser but very different at the same time.

Does same things chasing different goals.


Google Chrome will matter for one reason - Google part of it. If it had tagline it could be “Made for future”. It’s cool to see bit of future but it takes years to get there.

Home&download page http://www.google.com/chrome

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  • Joshua #

    Some very true points. Personally I think what everyone is forgetting is that Chrome is just one amongst a whole group of browsers all innovating and constantly pushing themselves to create the best possible product. Firfox, even IE8, Opera, Flock and Safari. The suggestion Google made of bringing browsers into the 21st century I found completely ludicrous considering Chrome essentially borrows features from all the other browsers.
  • Rarst #

    Yeah, it is compilation of features mostly. Internals are more complex but questionable as well. There is alreay statement from Opera that they are not following multithreading way and consider it excessive (makes sense because they target non-PC hardware as well). Chrome is something to use with online apps. It will fit people who spend their day in gmail perfectly but winning more might be hard for it.
  • Lucas #

    I have downloaded Chrome. To be honest, I wasn't really impressed because I didn't experience what I expected to experience. Ah well, I'm sticking with FF (at least for now).
  • Rarst #

    @Lucas There was too much hype. That made people expect something special. But what special about early beta of browser? Not much. After such dissapointment people usually either: 1. Calm down and go back to what they were using. 2. Start to furiously defend new product, often inventing non-existant advantages. PS lots of Firefox users seem to stuck in second mode forever :)))
  • Joshua #

    It's my default browser atm... but at least I can admit it's mostly because of novelty =) I do the same for any new browser release =P
  • CypherHackz #

    Agree with some of the points there. Btw, for me I think Google Chrome is a just a desktop application where by it is just an application on a desktop and not a software or browser at all. I hope my words are clear. Lol...
  • Rarst #

    >It’s my default browser atm Be careful about security. There are already reports on holes in it cause of outdated Webkit core without recent patches. >I hope my words are clear. Lol… Somewhat clear. :) It's really more of an interface for online apps than browser. At least in current state.
  • Hussein #

    Really? I thought it was a browser. I didn't blog about it :D
  • Rarst #

    >Really? I thought it was a browser Looks can be deceptive. :)
  • MK #

    Firefox users will never leave their Adblock plus, and Opera users will never leave their uber-plenty shortcuts. IE users, well, didn't even know that they can switch (j/k, even IE is getting better now). I am using Firefox every once in a while for Firebug and Web Developer. Perhaps I'll fire Chrome for those over-ajaxed sites that didn't work well in Opera. For other things, I'll stick with Opera. And the Internet is full of other things.
  • Joshua #

    You cant have everything... free content and no ads. I prefer to see the ads and support the website... unless it's completely intrusive and annoying.
  • Rarst #

    >IE users, well, didn’t even know that they can switch Heh, huge link to download Chrome in the middle of they most favorite Google search might change that. It's interesting how Google never promoted Firefox in that way despite close ties. >You cant have everything… free content and no ads. I prefer to see the ads and support the website… unless it’s completely intrusive and annoying. My main problem with ads is that people totally dumb about implementing them and effect it has on site load speeds. It's not uncommon to see blog plastered with ads that tries to load 500-1000Kb of JS alone (!!!) not counting images and rest.
  • Ben #

    I think Chrome is a long term investment and Google have a long term vision with it. Matt Cutts compared the importance of Chrome to the importance of Gmail for Google. They will push it and improve it until it becomes the best thing out there, just like they did with Gmail. That doesn't mean they will dominate the market though, a lot of people prefer to stick with hotmail even if it's slow and not very impressive, the same will happen with Chrome.
  • Rarst #

    @Ben Yep, as I said in post I think it's very long term. But initial hype treats Chrome like something immediate and out-of-the-box-uber just because it has Google in name.
  • Joshua #

    Hey Ben... great point. Gmail is great... but it's got barely 40 million users... Yahoo! mail sits on around 400 million and hotmail 200 million...
  • Rarst #

    I never was really hooked on gmail. I always preferred desktop software to online apps (connections only became good in last two years around here). I checked it out and my opinion was "So what?". I didn't really care about huge mailbox size that was so hyped.
  • Joshua #

    I prefer full featured desktop software with an online version for when your away from comp or data backup... I use Outlook, but there is one thing I really, really miss about Gmail online... threaded conversations... it's just so good.... I know, you can get it kind of with Xobni, but it doesn't really compare. That said, I still prefer Outlook for all the other options...
  • Rarst #

    I use M2 for years (Opera integrated mail client). It's excellent. I have Outlook (Exchange server) at work but it is heavy and bugged.
  • Joshua #

    Agreed... Outlook is reaaaly slow... but it's the only mail client which does everything I need, I have two accounts, gmail and hotmail and as you know only MS products can use hotmail :( it also has good calendar and contact manager... I'm waiting for Live Mail 3 though... that will pretty much be a light version of outlook including calendar integration so should be good. I used to use it but had lots of errors with gmail... search in Live mail is so much faster then outlook though... I have no idea why.
  • Rarst #

    >I have two accounts, gmail and hotmail and as you know only MS products can use hotmail :( Forward hotmail one to gmail (it does support forwarding I hope :) )? As I remember gmail even lets you send emails with another non-gmail address.
  • Joshua #

    No they don't let you forward. Its a pain...
  • Ky #

    Chrome appears to be a resource hog on my computer. As for forwarding from hotmail to gmail it's not possible. They only let you do it between 2 hotmail accounts.
  • Rarst #

    >As for forwarding from hotmail to gmail it’s not possible. They only let you do it between 2 hotmail accounts. That's so... Microsoft. :(
  • Ky #

    >That’s so… Microsoft. :( Haha, you're right. :) But they do let you send emails using another non hotmail address.
  • Adrian #

    I still prefer firefox because of it's speed and the multitude of Add-ons that it provides. If I ever had to change, I would rather choose IE instead of GChrome because it shuts my PC out by killing all system resources.
  • Rarst #

    @Adrian Well speed is clearly not something Firefox excels at. It is quite heavy browser even in v3 that got plenty of performance improvements. IE will suck as long as Microsoft thinks it has upper hand. Which will be for a long time I think. I had no resource issues with Chrome but hadn't tried recent versions. What do you think about Opera by the way? :) PS please keep you personal URL to comment field that is made for that :) my antispam setup doesn't react well to links in comment body
  • Run web app in dedicated window of Firefox or Chrome | Rarst.net #

    [...] year ago, when it was just released, I wrote that Chrome is not a browser, but platform for online applications. Nowadays surfacing details on upcoming Chrome OS only reinforce that [...]
  • Piotr Krzyzek #

    Hey Good Article. Just wanted to let you know, if you're looking for a working tutorial on how to get Google Chrome (and chromium) installed on Ubuntu you can check out the post I linked from this comment. Thanks. Good luck!
  • Shudogg #

    No, Internet Explorer is not a browser... It is malware... use it for a bit, and your guaranteed to end up infected with some internet STD. IE has more holes than swiss cheese. Anyone who uses IE and thinks it is a "good" browser, is an idiot, know nothing about computers, and should really do their homework. With no support for extensions, IE flat out sucks (always has). Those who use IE and thinks that it is good and refuse to change, probably are using Norton or McAffee and thinks they are a good antivirus and they are protected. lol, some people just don't get it. Firefox "used" to be good. Now, it has became bulky and not as quick as it used to be. They do have the best extensions though. Overall good, but not the best. Opera - I have been using more recently. It seems to be similar to firefox, but is better imo. It seems faster, has snazzy features like the pop out panels to make it easy to access stuff you need, but hidden when you don't need it. A great deal of extensions (not as much as FF), and more and more websites also support it (cross browser support from web designers) Chrome, is my overall fav. And yes, it is a browser. Google made it, and they call it a browser... It is a browser, idiot! Just because it has the ability to add "apps" to it, doesn't make it something else, it makes it ahead of it's time. It is Google we are talking about, they are "on uppers". Just because it has a "new" feature that other browsers don't, doesn't mean it isn't a browser. It is the internet, so people post shit all the time that isn't fact.. so whatever. Chrome has a large amount of extensions (again not as many as FF), but seems to have the major and most important ones. It is clean, simple, very ver light weight and fast! If you want simple, easy to use, and FAST, chrome is for you. Based off my website(s) traffic analytics, over 70% of my visitors are using Chrome. I am talking, roughly 5k visitors a day (across about 8 domains)... So, in 2012, Chrome is the hands down winner. The niche could play a factor. For instance, if your site is about stuff that computer tards are looking at, then yeah they probably are on IE because they are computer illiterate and don't know any better. They also probably call a refrigerator an icebox... Point is, Chrome IS a browser, you are wrong, and it is a damn good one. I also like Opera a lot too, and usually have both open at the same time (I multi task and have like 20 tabs open all the time!). My creds? Been on a computer for 20 years, program in 5 languages, CISCO certified, A+ certified, web designer, Internet Marketer of 5+ years... I could go on... You probably won't "approve" or post my post.. That just would show your a communist and you approve censorship because you don't want someone to say anything against you or that your wrong... God forbid someone says your wrong and you let it be posted on your site!
  • Rarst #

    You probably won’t “approve” or post my post.. That just would show your a communist and you approve censorship because you don’t want someone to say anything against you or that your wrong… God forbid someone says your wrong and you let it be posted on your site!
    I guess this happens a lot to you. I can see why. :)