So, Chrome is ten years old. Officially in the double-digits. Soon it’ll be getting wispy chin-hairs and its voice will be cracking. That said, Google’s browser has accomplished a lot in the ten years that it’s been around. It went from a latecomer in the Browser Wars, with just a 1-percent market share early on launch, and now it’s the most-used browser in the world, with around 60-percent market share.
We thought we’d take a look back at the few of the ways it became so dominant.
1. The Omnibox
Kids, you’re not going to believe this, but once upon a time, web browsers had one field for entering the web address, and a whole ‘nother field for searching! Can you believe it? What a bunch of filthy animals we were back then. Anyway, when Chrome launched back in 2008, it really tried to emphasize a “clean, simple, and efficient user interface,” and one of the ways was to combine the URL box and search box into one. Suddenly users could type in a web address or just rattle off search terms in the same place.
It saved a lot of clicking right from the get go, and it’s only improved with additional auto-complete prowess. It’s gotten so it can even answer questions and solve math problems before you hit Enter. “The Omnibox handles more than just URLs,” Google said in its comic book announcement to the world. “It also offers suggestions for searches, top pages you’ve visited before, pages you haven’t visited but are popular, and more… You’ll have full text search over your history.
If you found a good site for digital cameras yesterday, you don’t have to bookmark that site. Just type “digital camera” and get quickly back to it.” Ten years later, and it’s amazing how much I still rely on those features. It’s worth noting that all of that info would go back to Google by default, but you could opt to use other search engines (Yahoo, Ask, etc) if you wanted to.
2. Incognito mode
Google didn’t invent the concept of private (or more private) browsing. Apple’s Safari actually had a Privacy Mode way before Chrome, but that just goes to show you what a good name can do. Incognito Mode has become the Q-Tips of… well, there’s a reason some people still refer to it as “Porn Mode.” It can be used for much more, though, including checking out websites and profiles through the eyes of an anonymous third-party, or getting around the paywalls of news organizations.
That kind of speed paved the way for better in-browser apps, such as email, calendar, and spreadsheets, which of course Google would….Read More>>>