When we think of “the Internet” people think of different things, some people think of Facebook, some news, sports news, technology, family – there are a lot of things we associate the Internet with. One of the biggest though is “Google”, the two words go hand in hand with each other and a lot of what we do on the Internet starts with Google.
Some time ago, Google decided to bring their own browser to the party, building off of the Open Source Chromium project, Google Chrome was born. It took off pretty fast and Google weren’t shy about advertising it all over the place. With a new take on the browser UI and an emphasis on speed, Chrome was soon the browser to beat, overtaking Firefox as the web’s favorite.
Now, Chrome is Everywhere
Quite literally, Chrome is everywhere. You can run it on your PC or Laptop – whether you’re running Windows, Mac OS X or even Linux – there are Chromebooks and Chromeboxes built solely to run Chrome. Then there’s mobile, the next frontier of the Internet – Chrome is here, too. It launched on Android at the beginning of this year and by the Summer it was on iOS and iPads everywhere. It might not be available on Windows Phone but, it’s safe to say you can use Chrome pretty much anywhere you want to.
Not only that but, your Chrome is everywhere. Through Google and your GMail account, you can take your tabs, your bookmarks, your extensions, passwords and auto-fill data to whatever platform you want. Take me, for example, I run Ubuntu most of the time and game in Windows – everything on the Web is on both and when it comes to my Android phone and tablet, the same is true. I can pick up from where I left off anywhere I want – even on another PC, just sign in and there I am. It’s something I’ve learnt to live with and I love it.
Apple and Microsoft are Still Struggling on the Web
Both the two biggest names in Computing are struggling when it comes to the Internet. Apple made a go of it before Microsoft did but both are still lagging behind Google. Of course, Apple has the massive iTunes empire but that’s less of a presence than GMail, Google Search and Google+ are. Microsoft are having an even tougher time trying to get out on the Internet, they have Bing – and it’s obnoxious ads that attack Google regularly – but Hotmail has always been a mess and while the new Outlook service looks nice, it doesn’t seem to work too well. Xbox Music is only just taking off and as much as I love Xbox LIVE – it’s not something I consider when I open up my Laptop every morning.
Apple’s iCloud offering seems to be a complete solution but with questionable security procedures and the lack of quick and easy sharing makes iCloud not suitable for everyone. Let’s not forget that Google are focusing on Web Apps with Chrome and wherever you log into Chrome, these will carry over as well. With Google Music taking off worldwide, there’s a lot more on offer from Google than there ever has been before.
Chrome is Great But, It’s Not There Yet
As it stands, Chrome is pretty awesome but, not everybody is looking to use Chrome and there are a couple of things Google need to address before it takes off. For instance, Chrome on Android is really pretty poor, even with the latest update, Dolphin Browser still beats it on speed. Also, extensions for the mobile build of Chrome would be excellent as well after all, Dolphin has a wide range of add-ons to augment the experience and even ties in with services like Pocket.
Chromebooks need to be pushed harder and Chrome OS needs to be refined a lot more. Chromebooks are great and the new $249 offering from Samsung is pretty nice but, it looks too much like a Macbook to be taken entirely seriously – not to mention a paltry offering of just 2GB of RAM. If Google can bring the Android versions of Chrome in line with other platforms, bring extensions to mobile and make Chrome OS a truly viable option for all, Google could lay waste to Apple and Microsoft. Everything is heading to the web and it’s clear Google are in the lead but they need to get the Chrome and Android teams talking together to make Chrome the only way to experience the web – no matter what you’re using.
What do you think Google need to do to make Chrome as good as it can be?