Developed by Google based on its free and open-source Chromium software project, Google Chrome is a cross-platform web browser that is available in Windows operating system, Android devices, macOS operating system, iOS and iPadOS, and Linux distributions such as Debian and Ubuntu.
Software development began in 2006. Before its official release, several industry players and observers doubted if it would gain substantial market traction. Microsoft was unfaced and even believed that it would not come at par with its upcoming Internet Explorer 8.
However, when Google released the browser in September 2008, it soon received acclaim from technology reviewers and average consumers. Today, Google Chrome remains the most popular cross-platform web browser in terms of market share.
A 2021 report by web traffic analytics provider StatCounter revealed that around 66 percent of personal computer users are using Google Chrome. It is also dominant in Android smartphones and has an increasing market share on tablets.
The popularity of this web browser comes from its advantageous features that have trumped other browsers such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari. However, over the years, it has received criticisms and figured in numerous controversies.
Pros: Advantages or Strengths of Google Chrome Browser
Fast and Reliable Web Browsing
Performance is one of the reasons why Google Chrome has overtaken other desktop web browsers. Several tests from different tech reviewers have consistently shown that it remains faster than Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Edge.
Of course, it is important to note that the browser does not make your Internet connection speed faster. What it does is that it improves the overall web browsing experience through a technology that allows websites and web pages to load faster.
Modifications Through Browser Extensions
Extendibility is another key feature and strength of Google Chrome. Browser extensions can expand the functions and capabilities of the browser. Some of these add-ons come from Google itself while others come from third-party developers.
Of course, note that Mozilla Firefox also features browser extensions. What makes Google Chrome more appealing is the Chrome Web Store, which is fundamentally the Google Play or Android apps store equivalent for Chrome apps.
A particular competitive advantage of Google over Mozilla stemming from its established network of developers and pool of end-users has made the library and selection of extensions in Chrome Web Store more expansive, thus making the browser more appealing.
Standard and Built-In Security Features
The browser also comes with default and standard features for promoting and ensuring secured web browsing. For example, it displays a warning icon if a user visits a website that uses a standard HTTP protocol or an invalid SSL or TSL protocol.
It also blocks websites with known malware or phishing schemes. There is also a built-in window pop-up blocker that blocks unwelcomed tabs or windows triggered by a web-based ad or the web function of an intrusive website.
Google also rolls out software updates regularly to fix security issues and other vulnerabilities, improve its performance, and introduce new features or capabilities. Note that the browser automatically checks for new updates every five hours.
Clean and Minimal Design
Another advantage of Google Chrome is its simplistic user interface that provides a considerably straightforward user experience. The entire design philosophy is clean and minimal. There are no excessive menus and buttons typically found in browsers before 2008.
The main window includes three main small buttons: the back, forward, refresh or cancel, and drop-down menu buttons. Along this area is the “omnibox” that functions as both an address bar or URL box and a search bar. Submenus are tucked within the main menu button.
Nevertheless, opening the browser gives an upfront feel of doing a simple task: browsing the world wide web. There are not clutters that can distract users from maximizing how they use web browsers: whether for communication, productivity, and entertainment.
Availability in Different Platforms and Systems
The decommissioned Internet Explore was only available for Windows operating system. The same is true for Microsoft Edge. Safari has been associated largely with macOS and iOS platforms. Mozilla Firefox was the first true-cross platform browser.
However, the arrival of Google Chrome has challenged the cross-platform advantage of Mozilla Firefox. More specifically, the performance advantage of this browser from Google makes has supplemented its specific cross-platform advantage.
This browser is available in Windows and macOS, in Android smartphones and tablets, Linux distributions to include Ubuntu, and in iOS and iPadOS devices. Note that browser preferences such as profiles and bookmarks can be accessed across different platforms.
Cons: Disadvantages or Weaknesses of Google Chrome Browser
A Resource-Hungry Application
A notable disadvantage of Google Chrome is that consumes a considerable amount of hardware resources when compared to other desktop web browsers. Despite its clean and simple user interface, the application requires substantial resources to run.
Resource intensiveness is the primary reason why websites load faster in this browser. While this provides an advantage, it can be disadvantageous under several scenarios. Devices with lower or outdated hardware specifications might have a hard time running this browser.
Furthermore, running numerous browser tabs or browser windows would take more resources. Devices with low random access memory would experience not only browser hiccups but a considerable lag in the performance of their machines.
Significant Privacy Issues and Criticisms
The initial acclaim it received did not last long. Google Chrome has received numerous criticisms due to several privacy issues. As an example, because the core business of Google centers on advertising, some are uncomfortable with the thought of using data collected from Google Chrome to display targeted ads to users.
It is important to highlight the fact that this browser is well-integrated with the data gathering structure of Google, including services such as Google AdSense, Gmail, and Google Search. It is essentially one of the most data-gathering tools of the technology giant.
Some of the data this application collects include search and browsing history, location, product interaction data, and other user identifiers. Experts explained that excessively using Google Chrome allows Google to build a detailed picture of the personality of its user.
Not the Fastest Browser in Mobile Devices
Performance, specifically when compared to browsers available in Android and iOS or iPadOS devices, is another disadvantage of Google Chrome. While it still dominates the Android market, some alternatives are simpler, as well as better in terms of speed and reliability.
Reviewers are regularly publishing a list of the best Android website browsers. Examples include DuckDuckGo, which promotes privacy through its encryption and non-tracking features, and Opera browser, which has a data-saver mode and built-in virtual private network feature.
Safari remains a mainstay in iOS and iPadOS devices. Because it is developed by Apple, it is better optimized for iPhones and iPads than other third-party browsers. What this means is that it efficiently uses hardware resources and optimizes battery consumption.