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Is Internet Explorer wary of Chrome?

Last updated on: March 14, 2011 12:49 IST

Is Internet Explorer wary of Chrome?

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Priyanka Joshi in Mumbai

Even as Microsoft's browser rules the roost when it comes to the number of users, Google Chrome users displayed loyalty with only 35 per cent switch-outs.

With no clear preference when it comes to browsers, Microsoft and Google are targeting Indian internet users to have greater share of the market.

A Juxt study estimates the average Indian internet subscriber uses 2.3 browsers and the duplicate user base in browser usage stands at 31 per cent.

A Statcounter study says Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) leads with a 44.26 per cent share in India, followed by Firefox at 32.53 per cent and Chrome at the third position, with a 19.61 per cent share.

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USP of Google Chrome

What is it about Chrome that people like? Is it because it is a lightweight browser or because it is secure? Or the minimalist look and feel?

Is it the easy updates option or because of Google's marketing strategy? According to Juxt, users' loyalty with Chrome is the highest, at 64 per cent, followed by Firefox, at 36 per cent, and IE at 29 per cent.

This can be attributed to the steady growth of Chrome, which has had only 35 per cent switch-outs and 61 per cent switch-ins over the last one year, the report says.

An engineering student, Nikhit Pandey, says: "The blue 'e' icon on the computer is the most common association users have with the Internet. But when I heard friends talking about Google's browser, I wanted to have a go and downloaded it."

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Image: Google software engineer Ben Goodger introduces the company's web browser, Google Chrome, at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California
Photographs: Kimberly White/Reuters
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Last week, Pandey upgraded to the latest version of Chrome 10 browser and claims the new preference page makes it easy to sync bookmarks, passwords and other settings between each computer you run Chrome on.

"You can also import data from other browsers like Firefox and Internet Explorer with just one click."

This year, the number of people using Chrome had tripled from 40 million to 120 million, wrote Google Vice-President (Engineering) Linus Upson and Vice-President (Product Management) Sundar Pichai, on the company's official blog.

"Speed is what people love most about Chrome and we're always working to make the browser even faster," said the post.

Nikhil Rungta, country marketing head, Google India, echoes the sentiments. "Google was the last browser to enter the market in 2008 and, since then, it has seen tremendous growth. Today, Chrome's market share is 25 per cent and is the fastest growing browser amongst the top three browsers. What has led to this growth is the constant innovation on Chrome and user feedback," he said.

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Chrome's latest version can be downloaded for free and current Chrome users will be automatically updated to the new version soon, Google said.

Describing the in-built security features, Tim Steele, software engineer, wrote on Google's official blog: "For security, Google added sandbox for each web page you open. This keeps all your tabs in a separate a sandbox in case one of them crashes or contains a virus. That way, everything is isolated and reduces the risk of crashing your entire browser or infecting your computer."

Availability of several apps from the Chrome web store is another factor propelling the growth of the Chrome browser among young users.

"The Chrome Web Store hosts several apps (paid and free), which can be downloaded according to one's choice," says Kameni Bhagat, a computer science student at the University of Mumbai.

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Talking about the new Chrome 10 features, she raves about the background WebApps that allows web applications from the Google Chrome store to run in the background, even when Chrome itself is not running (visibly).

"This allows web apps to behave even more like native applications, as they can be launched at startup without launching a Google Chrome window and can continue to run even when you are done with your browsing."

Microsoft pins hope on IE9

With 41 per cent of internet users using all three browsers (Chrome, IE and Firefox/Mozilla) from home, Senthilkumar Sundaram, director (Internet Explorer, Consumer & Online), Microsoft India says, "Internet Explorer 8 remained the world's most popular, and fastest growing web browser. IE8 now runs on nearly 40 per cent of all Windows PCs worldwide."

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Image: Microsoft Corp Vice President of Internet Explorer Dean Hachamovitch unveils Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Beta version
Photographs: Robert Galbraith/Reuters
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Sundaram says Microsoft has received very positive responses from consumers for IE9 beta, which has become "our fastest adopted browser beta with over 36 million downloads". The Redmond-based software giant adorns a humble approach with IE9.

"We know that people don't go online to use a browser, they go online to access their favourite sites and web applications." he says.

Claiming it is this thought that influenced the design of IE9, delivering user experience that treats websites almost like applications.

Innovations like Pinned Sites allow consumers to pin their favourite sites to the task bar and access features like Dynamic JumpLists to get to their favourite content.

"We have also launched an IE9 experience site, www.beautyoftheweb.co.in, that showcases the websites that consumers can visit today to experience faster, safer and cleaner web experiences with Internet Explorer 9," says Sundaram.

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Image: A screenshot of Internet Explorer 8
Photographs: Reuters
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Microsoft is leaving no stone unturned to make IE9's launch smooth in emerging countries like India.

"We have partnered with some of the most popular websites like Rediff India, Zapak Games, Indiatimes.com and NDTV.com, among others, to bring alive the IE9 capabilities. Internationally, with the introduction of the IE9 beta, we have partnered with over 70 top websites and global brands which have created new experiences demonstrating the capabilities of IE9 and whose collective reach is more than two billion monthly visitors."

Partners like Deepak Abbot, vice-president for Zapak.com at Zapak Digital Entertainment says, "With the beta availability of IE9, Zapak will take on a new smooth and sleek avatar. With HTML5 for gaming, www.Zapak.com can now deliver rich user experience to consumers. Zapak.com can now be directly installed on PCs just like any standard Windows application, making it quick and easy for users."

 


Photographs: Andrea Comas/Reuters
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