Much has been said about Google
Chrome Shiny this week. Google stormed the internet by announcing that they too had a browser that web users could be proud of. They claimed the best of all browsers while slipping in some legal language into the EULA that revoked privacy of user browsing data while using the product. That was quickly changed when their bluff was called.
Regardless, Shiny has created quite a buzz with people like Gabe Rivera, the founder of Techmeme, claiming a 14% market share of all Techmeme readers using Shiny. That may be the most dramatic number I’ve seen, but certainly folks have been bandying around their numbers as if this was a huge coup de grace.
Let me remind you of what Brad Feld said in 2006: The first 25k users are irrelevant. (Disclosure: Brad is an investor in Lijit)
Got that? Irrelevant.
They are all kicking tires. There is nothing “new” here, as far as I can tell, and anything Google is greeted with a bunch of tire kickers early on. People want to get in, test things out, see how it works and then decide on what works for them.
You’ll see another surge in market share when Shiny becomes available to the Mac, and those users will be irrelevant as well.
That is not to say that Google cannot command a noticeable market share, but there are big hurdles to overcome:
- The browser market is saturated already: IE7/8, Firefox 2/3, Safari, Opera, to name only a few
- Internet Explorer, Safari and, well, Konqueror maybe are the only gifts that keep on giving. These are the browsers that are bundled with the Operating Systems and it is the only way to ensure market share. Google needs an OS in widespread adoption to compete on this level
- Google says they are innovating, but there is nothing innovative about the browser. It is built on Webkit. That is, it’s Safari.
- Google privacy concerns will continue to keep hawks like myself away.
The real measure of success is not going to be today or tomorrow. It’s going to be in six months. After the tire kickers run their test drives and uninstall from their systems. I’m guessing they can command a solid 2% market share by June of 2008. No better than that though. It will always be a niche browser.