In the early days of Internet usage, there was only one go-to browser: Internet Explorer. The main reason for its almost universal popularity was the fact that it came pre-installed on all the Windows-based computers, back when the GUI (graphical user interface) was a new and amazing innovation (no more typing in directory names from that horrible black DOS screen, all those pretty icons and the ability to access programs with just one click of a new-fangled mouse!).
However, Internet Explorer is no longer the leader in the world of internet browsers. On the contrary, IE has been losing fans at a rate of about six per cent per year while the new leader has been gaining in popularity at about the same rate. This is actually a much more impressive feat than it sounds – the new leader is maintaining this gain despite the proliferation of many more browsers than IE ever had to contend with (amongst them, Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and many more). As recently as 2008, IE dominated some eighty per cent of internet interactions, dropping year on year until finally losing its number one place in 2014 – to a browser that had not even been released in 2008!
Who is this new and impressive player? The answer is, of course, Google Chrome. Google’s innovation, fine attention to detail (their research and development teams pore over every aspect of computer usage and tailor their software to be as intuitive as possible – your ease of browsing is not down to your natural talent after all!), and all-round high standards have seen their internet browser become the most popular internet tool with users both young and old. While Google does not (yet) dominate eighty per cent of the market, if must be understood that computer usage has grown from being a part-time pleasure with few people having access to the internet at home, and dial-up being the standard connection to the situation that we are in today, with almost everyone having some kind of connection to the cyber world, often more than one (think mobile phone, tablet, laptop – many people own all three!) and that connection being a permanent feature of their lives via broadband or mobile data networks, so Google Chrome is used by far more people than that eighty per cent all those years ago.
It is, in fact, partly due to the rapid expansion (almost explosion) of mobile data connection that has both sealed the fate of Internet Explorer and boosted Google Chrome to new and dizzying heights. Most users tend to prefer the same internet platform on all their devices and IE does not have a mobile presence. Google Chrome, on the other hand is available to every possible device, from Apples iOS to Androids various sweetly named platforms to laptops and desktop PCs. This availability has been seized upon by users all over the world.
However, perhaps the major advantage of using Google Chrome over almost any other internet browser is its great speed. As super-fast fibre broadband and 4G connections make our devices perform ever faster, the deficiencies of slower internet browsers became more of an issue to ever more impatient users. With Internet Explorer becoming something of a joke it was not long before Google’s speedy offering became something of a generic brand name: hence the term Google it!