Google’s Chrome browser turns five today, and love it or loathe it we have to mark the date because you cannot ignore it. Chrome has gone from nothing to the most popular browser in the world by far, commanding about 40% of all web traffic in the world. It’s on desktops, laptops, phones and tablets over the world, is an operating system and, if recent moves at the top of the company mean anything, likely to become with Android any day soon.
Chrome isn’t just massive, it’s also been truly revolutionary. Every other browser now looks a lot like Chrome did originally. When Chrome arrived, the trend in browser design was for more features, more bloat and increasingly slower performance with heavy quasi-desktop modes. Chrome was lightweight, sleek and turned Firefox-like add-ons in web apps which didn’t hold back the base browser.
There’s even an open source version, Chromium, which I occasionally use (although Firefox won me back about a year ago) and despite the fact it’s obviously a front for Google’s big data gathering machinery, Chrome also popularised the ‘private mode’ and regularly comes top of security tests. According to news today, there’s a customised version which supports ‘Do Not Track’ by default too.
And the cupcakes above? We didn’t buy them for Chrome and the colouring is entirely coincidental. But it is a staff member’s birthday today as well. Who isn’t five.