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by John Waghorn on 10th February 2012
Google Chrome has been an Internet web browser since 2008 and was brought about with the ethos of providing simple, yet fast web access for its users. Some people use Chrome as their primary web browser, however other popular choices at present include Firefox, Internet Explorer (IE), Safari and Opera.
Recent figures for January 2012 from StatCounter highlighted the global desktop statistics for the usage of each individual Internet provider and found that the top five browsers where those mentioned above in the following order: IE (37.45%), Chrome (28.4%), Firefox (24.78), Safari (6.62), and Opera (1.95%). The stats were recorded through tracking code installed on more than 3 million sites worldwide and every month StatCounter would record hits to these sites and analyse the web browser used.
Internet Explorer is still a popular choice for many people, although Chrome and Firefox aren’t too far behind. This week however, Google have introduced Chrome for Android Beta, which means that it is now compatible and available with tablets and smartphones. Arguably, this could be a move to increase its popularity, as well as Google’s revenue, so that more Internet users adopt the service on their desktop computers to their phones or vice versa.
Similar to the desktop version, Google have stated that Chrome used for these platforms is again focused on simplicity and fast access. This version also includes sign-in and sync, so you can use personalised browsing with you wherever you go and across all of the devices you may be using. In other words, if you are away from your computer, the tabs that are still on there can be accessed via your phone; a very nifty and neat feature indeed.
When searching on Chrome for Android, your top search results will be displayed in the background so that you can easily navigate to your most viewed pages, and the omnibox allows you to search for information in the URL address bar. There has always been an issue when accessing the web via mobile devices in the sense that links can sometimes be too small to click on, and operating the service can be quite frustrating. Google have taken this problem and come up with a solution for their version on tablets and mobile devices by making the screen fit naturally on the respective devices. It will also show link previews, which allow you to easily access the correct URL on a small screen. This will be of great use for anyone who has spent over 20 seconds trying to click on a link on the smallest phone screen available.
Additional features include the mentioned sign-in option which allows you to sign in to Chrome and view open tabs left on your desktop (providing you have also signed in on your computer). This is a unique and clever idea as it means that you can continue your search on the move. Information you were viewing is accessible straightaway without the hassle and delay of loading up more pages and typing in the address. Autocomplete suggestions are also available if you are typing an address into your mobile device that you have accessed on your desktop, meaning that once again you can save time.
Google have unveiled another change to their web browser by making it accessible for users on the move, and acclimatising to our changing Internet browsing habits. It’s fair to say that they are constantly trying to create a better user experience on newer platforms and it reinforces the belief that a big part of the future is mobile Internet access and search.
Interestingly, this is having an impact on the overall market share for Google. Yandex, a Russian search engine, lost some of the market share during 2011 to Google, who are becoming more popular in Russia as a result of their social network Google +, the android platform for smart phones and increased Chrome downloads. According to a report by VTB Capital, the market share for Yandex decreased by 4% last year to 60.6%, whilst Google saw an improvement, bringing their market share to 25.5%.
Chrome for Android is just one of the changes that we are expecting to see from Google over the next 10 months, as they continue to move with our changing habits. Domestically, Google have a strong presence, and now that they are taking more of the market share in other parts of the world it will be interesting to see how they can secure similar market domination elsewhere in the future.