Google has an ad banner in their search home page for their Chrome browser. Can it eventually change the course of the browser wars? And what can happen if it does?
Google's search home page has stayed clean forever, with no clutter or advertising banners of any kind. When Chrome came out, they broke their self-imposed rule to promote their browser whenever an Internet Explorer user arrived to their page. Using their most powerful nuke—the most popular home page in the world—Google is looking to change the course of the Browser War. Now that Chrome is available for Mac, the banner has started to appear in Safari too. According to the latest statistics, their strategy is working well, growing to a 4.4% browser market share in 15 months.
Google knows they need to control the web in every sense, and Chrome is now one of the most important pieces in their strategy to keep their web stronghold. It's clearly the cornerstone of their future plans to take over the incoming new computing world—a world of smart phones and new devices that will eventually replace the computer as we know it. They are hoping the majority of those smart phones would be running Android, and tablets and computers would running ChromeOS. And rendering their web world, there will be Chrome. Not Internet Explorer, Safari/Webkit, or Firefox. Google wants to own the delivery medium, power the hardware, deploy the browser, and then control the delivery of the content. They want the whole enchilada.
That's why this is happening. Chrome will now get exposed to the hundreds of millions of people who visit Google's home page every day. Many will look at the banner and, trusting the Google brand, they will download and install it. My feeling is that many will click that big thing on the top right corner, but even if it's a small percentage of visitors, the potential for change is enormous. We will see soon how effective this campaign could be, but there's one fact that can't be denied now: This is a competitive advantage that browsers like Firefox or Opera don't have. If it ends being powerful change force, Google could eventually face an anti-trust investigation like the one Microsoft faced when they used their domination of desktop operating systems to win the Browser War 1.0 against Netscape. After all, the web is the new OS and Google owns the web.
Would Mozilla whine about this now, like they did about Microsoft? Would the Department of Justice keep an eye on this? Would the European Commission order Google to place banner's for Firefox, Opera, Safari, and, o the irony, Explorer in Google's home page, alongside Chrome's?
It's too early to tell if this is part of a long term aggressive push, but I can't wait for this clusterfuck to happen. It's going to be fun. [Silicon Alley Insider]