Chrome Is Already Bigger Than You Think

Say what you will about Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) grand ambitions for the Chrome browser, it's already in more places than you think.

Take Firefox, for example. Google's new Toolbar makes Firefox behave like Chrome in a key way: Each time I open a new tab, Toolbar shows me tabs I've closed recently and a list of my most popular browsing destinations.

Admittedly, this isn't any sort of massive breakthrough, but it is a convenience that I've come to appreciate and use. And it makes me think of the speedy-though-still-in-testing Mac OS X version of Chrome, which I use when Firefox misbehaves.

Visibility matters in this newest browser war. If Google wants a 10% share of the market by its third anniversary, it'll need to steal from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) , Mozilla, and Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) Safari, among others. And to do that, The Big G has to get users like me craving something new and different. It needs to lead me to Chrome; Toolbar can do that.

So can Chrome's rendering engine. A new plug-in called Google Chrome Frame professes to speed up Internet Explorer by allowing IE to render pages using Chrome's WebKit engine.

This is smart on multiple levels, but Wired reporter Michael Calore puts it best: "This is pretty much the height of awesomeness -- or audacity. Google wants everyone to start using HTML5 as soon as possible, but IE doesn't support HTML5 natively. So, the company hacks Microsoft's browser to run Google's browser inside of it."

Precisely. With Trojan-horse moves like this and the new Toolbar for Firefox, I will be surprised if Chrome doesn't capture 10% of the browser market by September 2011.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers had stock and options positions in Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. The Motley Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. The Fool's disclosure policy is waiting for the steel-plated collector's edition of Chrome.


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  • Report this Comment On September 23, 2009, at 9:23 PM, fortressgame wrote:

    your article seems to offbase as an underestimation that i can't imagine you've done even basic research on this

    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp

    look - its already at 7% and growing about half a percent a month. It'll be at 10% in 6 months, not the well over a year you cited.

    its pretty much all coming from IE users.

  • Report this Comment On September 25, 2009, at 5:19 PM, dmewhort wrote:

    http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp is a little misleading as it's based on visists to w3schools which are not likely to be by anyone still using IE. I find it remarkable that IE is near 50% actually.

    Chrome making 10% overall will be much harder than reaching 50% of the visits to the www standards and compliance school.

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