Chrome, in other words, is being used in the lapp way that Internet Explorer 6 was back in the day — with web developers chiefly optimizing for Chrome and tweaking for rivals late. To understand how we flush got to this stage, here ’ s a little ( a lot ) of browser history. If you want to know why saying “ Chrome is the new Internet Explorer 6 ” is indeed curse, you have to know why IE6 was a damnable problem in the early ‘ 00s .
A brief history of browsers
Microsoft ’ south personal computer laterality with Windows peaked 16 years ago. Alongside Intel, Microsoft spent at least $ 1 billion promoting the release of Windows XP, with a television receiver commercial have Madonna ’ s Ray of Light. It was an earned run average before the ipod, Gmail, or YouTube, and Microsoft didn ’ t even have competition from Google at the time. Microsoft acted like a ship’s company that could do what it wanted, and it pretty much did. After crushing its Netscape rival, the era of Internet Explorer 6 was born .
Internet Explorer 6 debuted with Windows XP, and was tied close to many of its features. As XP grew in popularity, thus did the web. IE6 arrived just as the “ dot com ” house of cards was collapsing, and internet use in the US was growing quickly. For many, Internet Explorer was the primary way of accessing the internet, and the logo became synonymous with the internet. At its vertex, Internet Explorer 6 dominated 90 percentage of the integral browser market.
Microsoft controlled the way that millions of people accessed the web, and with Internet Explorer 6, it started to flex its muscles. As the web was becoming army for the liberation of rwanda more democratic, standards were emerging that would help developers build sites and applications that would work across multiple devices and browsers. Internet Explorer 6 largely ignored web standards at the time, and set Microsoft and vane developers on a way of afflictive decisions for years to come .
Ignoring web standards meant that developers started to code their sites around Internet Explorer specifically, and would recommend that their customers only accessed their locate through Internet Explorer. Internet Explorer 6 existed for a broad five years ignoring world wide web standards and with a count of security flaws, but rivals started to emerge. In 2004, the Mozilla Foundation, founded by former browser godhead Netscape, released Firefox 1.0. It introduced tabbed browse and a pop-up book blocker, and fans raised cash to pay for a full-page ad in the New York Times. It was heralded as the Internet Explorer cause of death, and it was the beginning serious alternative since Netscape .
Microsoft hit back with Internet Explorer 7 in 2006, adding tabbed browse and other features that by and large kept people loyal to the Windows default. IE7 didn ’ metric ton improve Microsoft ’ s web standards accompaniment enough, and criticism over Microsoft ignoring web standards started to grow stronger. flush the creator of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, criticized Microsoft ’ sulfur efforts .
At the time of Firefox ’ second liberation, Google was quickly growing its search and advertising business. alternatively of building its own Chrome browser, it was busy creating the Google Toolbar. ( notably, it was one of the very first major projects led by now-CEO Sundar Pichai. ) The toolbar was an addition for Internet Explorer or Firefox that added a pop fly blocker and comfortable entree to Google search. It acted as a Trojan horse to add extra features into browsers, and direct people to Google services. Google promoted it heavily on its search engine pages, and the pop-up book blocker was peculiarly popular with Internet Explorer 6 users .
As Firefox popularity grew and frustrations over Internet Explorer intensified, Google entered the market in 2008 with its own Chrome browser. Google focused on web standards and respect HTML5, passing both the Acid1 and Acid2 tests with the first unblock of Chrome — something Microsoft had been failing badly at. Developers flocked to Chrome because it enabled them to build better websites based on web standards, and it started a consumer war of market partake between Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome .
While Chrome has never managed to capture 90 percentage of all desktop browse grocery store share, it ’ second now the dominant way people access the internet across devices. Netmarketshare, W3Counter, and StatCounter all place Chrome at around 60 percentage of background crop, with Safari, Firefox, IE, and Edge all army for the liberation of rwanda behind with up to 14 percentage marketplace share each ( depending on who you trust ). Either way, Chrome immediately has the character of dominance that Internet Explorer once did, and we ’ re starting to see Google ’ s own apps diverge from supporting web standards much in the lapp manner Microsoft did a ten and a half ago .
Works best (or only) with Chrome
Whether you blame Google or the much behind moving World Wide Web Consortium ( W3C ), the results have been peculiarly discernible throughout 2017. Google has been at the center of a lot of “ works best with Chrome ” messages we ’ re starting to see appear on the web. Google Meet, Allo, YouTube TV, Google Earth, and YouTube Studio Beta all obstruct Windows 10 ’ mho default option browser, Microsoft Edge, from accessing them and they all point users to download Chrome rather. Google Meet, Google Earth, and YouTube television are besides not supported on Firefox with messages to download Chrome. Google has publicly promised to support Earth on Edge and Firefox, and the company is “ working to bring YouTube television to more browsers in the future. ”
Hangouts, Inbox, and AdWords 3 were all in the same gravy boat when they first debuted. It ’ south led to one developer at Microsoft to describe Google ’ second behavior as a strategic blueprint. “ When the largest web company in the world blocks out competitors, it smells less like an accident and more like strategy, ” said a Microsoft developer in a now-deleted tweet .
Google international relations and security network ’ thymine alone in its “ works best with Chrome ” set about either, as other web companies have started to reveal that their websites work good in Chrome. Groupon, Airbnb, and Seamless are all guilty of it, even prompting one Chrome team member to country “ please don ’ t build sites for good Chrome. ” It ’ s a useful assemble of advice that Google isn ’ triiodothyronine putting into commit itself, though. ( Groupon former walked back its “ Optimized ” for Chrome policy with a excessively cunning Tweet. )
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so why is this happening ? “ Of the dozens of web projects being worked on at any given time at Google, only a little divide of those ask Chrome at some point in their growth cycle, chiefly due to resource or engineering constraints, ” explains Ben Galbraith, director of the Chrome Web Platform in a statement to The Verge. “ In every case, we work to try to overcome these constraints whenever possible because we believe that an open web is critical to building a better network. ”
A lot of this probably comes down to pure technology resources at Google and other web companies, quite than a conspiracy to crush Firefox or Edge. Google employees use Gmail, Google, and Chrome, and so do most of their customers, so it ’ s apprehensible they ’ five hundred optimize for Chrome. Google ’ s Chrome team is hush a boastful advocate of the exposed web, but if the rest of Google is optimizing services for Chrome then it creates this bad front .
“ One issue is that Google developers often create many of the new standards, they are extremely active in modern sport development for the web, ” explains Jason Ormand, a operation engineer at Vox Media. “ They write up proposals and get them through the work standards group, W3C, so that they become standards. ” That much means Google is the beginning to ship with these standards, because the company has been advocating for them. Mix that together with a distribute of developers using Chrome for web development and the issues are obvious .
It ’ s heavily to imagine this Chrome-only situation getting any better, though. Google moved away from WebKit and towards its Blink render engine years ago, and there have been lots of optimizations to open informant libraries, frameworks, and early parts of the locomotive that cause bugs in other browsers. You ’ ll notice this if you try and use Safari, Firefox, or Edge in sealed sites where developers have initially targeted Chrome, and its easier for web site digest staff to just recommend downloading Chrome than rewrite parts of their code. Developers have besides spent years optimizing for Chrome, and working around some of its quirks with Chrome-only fixes or changes .
Google besides controls the most popular locate in the earth, and it regularly uses it to push Chrome. If you visit Google.com in a non-Chrome browser you ’ re prompted up to three times if you ’ d like to download Chrome. Google has besides even extended that prompt to take over the entire page at times to truly push Chrome in certain regions. Microsoft has been using alike tactics to convince Windows 10 users to stick with Edge .
The trouble oneself share for anyone who ’ mho invested in an open web is that Google is starting to ignore a principle it championed by making its own services Chrome-only — even if it ’ s only initially. Given the sum of times this has occurred already, the most holocene Chrome-only Google app, YouTube TV, international relations and security network ’ t likely to be the death one .
“ This is in truth not acceptable, ” says Jen Simmons, a member of the CSS working group and developer recommend at Mozilla, referencing Groupon optimizing its web site for Chrome. “ Web devs, you can do better. Develop for the world wide web, not one browser. Otherwise you are screwing over your users. ”
John Gruber, author of the Daring Fireball blog and inventor of the Markdown publish format, warns there could be more of this to come. “ There is so much Chrome-only stuff right now, ” says Gruber. “ If you think Google international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine building a proprietary Chrome platform, your head is in the sandpaper. ”
There ’ s some hope, though. “ Helping to establish developer habits that support the emergence of the open vane remains a focus for the Chrome team and Google overall in 2018, ” says Google ’ s Ben Galbraith. It ’ s a focus that both the Chrome and Google ’ s vane teams will need to close align on to avoid Chrome-only sites .
Microsoft might have celebrated the death of Internet Explorer 6, but if Google isn ’ thyroxine careful then it might precisely resurrect an despicable era of the internet where “ works best with Chrome ” is a modern nightmare .
Update, 2:20PM ET : Clarified extra detail on Google ’ mho services support for Firefox and Edge browsers. Updated again at 12:05 ET on Jan 5 to include Groupon ’ s cloying walkback of Chrome-only back in a tweet .