Strong opinions, weakly held

Google advertises Chrome

How committed is Google to driving Chrome adoption? They’re running TV ads to get people to try it out. Farhad Manjoo speculates on why people aren’t adopting Chrome, but not so much on why Google really wants them to adopt it. I don’t think anyone has really explained what Google hopes to gain by driving adoption of its own browser — and clearly, given the TV ads, they are very committed to this project.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s far too early to write off Chrome. Google needs to worry about winning over the alpha geeks. If they can do that, larger adoption is almost certain a few years down the road.


  1. Without a robust extension model, no chance I’ll use it.

    I use about 35 extensions and 50+ user styles via Stylish, and until Google Chrome has that, there’s just no way.

  2. Do you use Chrome? I do when I need two browsers open– it is stripped down, and seems like less of a memory hog than Firefox. I’d be interesting in hearing about the case for using Chrome apart from that– most of what I want from a browser are extension type things, and since that is exactly what Chrome is not, I wonder why it would be anyone’s default.

  3. I’ve gotten to where I only use Firefox for development because it’s so slow compared to Safari 4 on the Mac and Chrome on WIndows.

  4. Rafe, you should try my Firefox. It’s faster than Chrome or any version of Safari. Not on Javascript-heavy sites, of course, but I don’t use any of those. If I could get away with it, I’d turn Javascript off altogether.

    Of course, in Linux, I run Firefox completely in memory using a ramdisk/tmpfs, so that helps. (Using Win7 at the moment, where that is harder.)

  5. I was so put off by the clunky first release of Chrome that I uninstalled it and haven’t looked at it since. I assumed that if it was any good, I’d hear about it… and honestly you’re one of the only people I’ve heard say that it is any good.

    But at a deeper level my problem with it is the same as with IE: I don’t want my primary media interface to be one developed by people with financial interests fundamentally at odds with my personal preferences. Google and Microsoft have strong incentives to keep browsers as trackable and revealing as possible, and to prevent things like adblockers and fine-grained cookie filters, whereas as far as I can tell those are the only things that are going to keep us from drowning in advertising and having our privacy utterly demolished in the next century.

    As it is, things like web bugs, referrers, and many uses of cookies infringe on your privacy with zero reward to you, the user (and with zero notification). Our only hope for getting rid of such infringements is if we-the-people keep control of the browser.

  6. Speaking of which, I hadn’t actually made the referer blocking change in Firefox. Here’s how: http://cafe.elharo.com/privacy/privacy-tip-3-block-referer-headers-in-firefox/ (It may break a few sites; if you scroll down there is an intermediate setting that blocks referers for images but allows them for clicked links, which ought to fix those cases if you have problems.)

    And here’s how to turn off third-party cookies, which blocks many web bugs (sadly not all): http://support.mozilla.com/en-US/kb/cookies#All_the_Settings

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