Is Google really a threat? Part 1:The Browser

Lets start with Google Chrome, when word hit that Google was creating a browser it seemed as if everyone and their parents were downloading Chrome to give it a try. Market share for Chrome quickly jumped up to 1 or 2% in the days following the release, an impressive feat, but in weeks since has slowly fallen. Unlike most of the products which Google labels beta, Chrome is very much still a beta. There are still quite a few issues which remain unsolved with Chrome along with quite a few glaring issues. Even still, I have no doubt that there are Googlers working away at right this moment to fix these issues and improvements will be made. Getting back to the original question, is Google really a threat in the browser market? The short term answer, not really. Lets categorize people for a moment to see why. 
"Techies" were very likely to try out Chrome and I would assume they accounted for a significant proportion of that initial 1% as evidenced by many tech sites receiving  significantly higher percentages (ReadWriteWeb saw 7%, Silicon Valley Insider saw 6.6%). Unfortunately for Google, they did not release an add-on framework at the time of release and many geeks are so hooked on their Firefox plug-ins of choice that they couldn't imagine switching to Chrome permanently (AdBlockPlus and Firebug in my case). I'm sure there are many people typing away at these, but so far nothing. 
But techies are only a collective few, what about other people? People browsing at work whom are employed by large companies is a large contingent of people (and not mutually exclusive with techies), how is their Chrome usage? In short, not good. Upon its release Chrome had quite a nasty looking EULA which may people believed was akin to signing over a first born to Google. While not true, it was a firmly worded EULA which had a lot of people concerned which Google has since rectified. Even still, so many large businesses were concerned about that EULA and as a result told employees not to download Chrome until it had been reviewed. Considering how strict many companies are about using non-IE browsers, it will be difficult for Chrome to gain significantly large market shares in this slice of the world.  Finally, there is the general population.  "Google what?" is the most likely response you will hear when asking the general population what their opinion is on Google Chrome. As ubiquitous has the Google name has become, the reality is that to many people the internet is still that e with a halo on it on their desktop, it is just that simple. Simply consider the fact that last year over 30% market-share belonged to IE6, yes the same IE6 that came by default with Windows XP circa 2001. The same IE6 which is mired with security flaws and whose rendering abilities are the bane of most web developers existence. While that was last years numbers, many sources have seen IE6 holding fairly strong with a 25% market-share this year. If this is not evidence of the "Internet=Desktop e" theory then I don't know what is. 
So then, what does this all mean? It means the while Chrome has quite a few innovative features (process per tab to name one), it is still lacking some of the features to draw the techies over. Employees at large companies are unlikely to use Chrome since either their legal department hasn't given it the OK, and may never. For the general public Chrome is still what lined their favorite Ford Thunderbird back in high school. By Christmas time this year I can see Chrome getting to about 2-3% market-share without really breaking a sweat. Following that I think Google is going to have to make some big announcements to remind us all what Chrome is, and why I should switch over. So to answer the question, no, Chrome is not a threat. 


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