Why Google Chrome is a Bad Idea
Do you remember the browser wars? No, I don’t talk about Star Wars, the browser wars.
In the prehistoric era of the Web we had Netscape Navigators which guided us through the World Wide Wait.
Netscape 2, 3 and 4 were the dominant browsers back then. Then Microsoft made the situation more difficult by gaining market share.
Believe it or not but at a certain point the Internet Explorer was the best browser to use.
Netscape failed to fulfill both Internet users’ and web developers’ needs. Thus Netscape 6 (there never was a 5) was built from scratch.
Firefox is what came out of it in the end – it was a happy ending – but it was no ending at all!
Now Google goes to war again with a proprietary browser!
Google Chrome is a Bad Idea for Various Reasons
1. Proprietary: In case you think the Microsoft monopoly sucks don’t you think that a Google monopoly does suck as well? It might be open source but not truly free software.
Google Chrome won’t be another Firefox, you can bet. Google is the Microsoft of the Web. It won’t be friendly forever. Just ask the Chinese.
2. Privacy: Google knows almost everything about you:what you search (Google search), what messages you read (Gmail), what people visit a site (Google Analytics), what sites you visit
- Google toolbar
- lifetime Google cookies
- DoubleClick tracking cookies etc.
but there still are some unknowns, from time to time. With a Google browser you can’t hide anything anymore.
3. Ads: Firefox, Opera and even Internet Explorer come with either built in or easily added Google ad blockers. A Google browser is basically a Google Ads feeding machine.
4. Web Development: Web developers have a difficult enough job to fix websites for the 4 most popular browsers like IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera.
Do you think a Google browser will make it easier? Currently building websites often takes up less time already than tweaking them for different browsers.
5. Web Standards: Do you really expect Google and Microsoft to implement the same Web Standards?
No way, they attempt to push their own ways of interpreting them, both will differ. We’ll end up with web apps or even websites working just on one of them.
6. Firefox: The guy who built Firefox now works with Google or for both FF and Google. Do you really think this will go forever and Google will support its own free and non-profit open source competition?
7. Search: No other search engine will be able to succeed in future. Google will – just like Microsoft – bundle the browser with the search engine.
Any new search engine that comes up in future will face an insurmountable disadvantage: It won’t be able to gain market share without owning a browser.
What do you think? Are you eager to fight in the browser wars? Do you need more sequels?
Are You Joining the Dark Side?
Do you really think Microsoft is the dark side and Google is not? No matter how the empire is called. The emperor wields all the power.
In case you’re with the rebel forces use Firefox instead.
This new initiative raises a lot of questions. We won’t like some of the answers.
Personally I do not trust Google – like any other corporation – to own me and control my browsing habits.
Let’s hope the best and prepare for the worst by using Google-free open source software.
Editor’s note: this post has gone live and viral in 2008 when Google introduced Chrome. I’ve edited it ever since for better readability and changed the image. The gist is still the same despite minor tweaks.
* Creative Commons image by Pascal.