Why Chrome is the world's most influential browser

Chrome may trail Internet Explorer and Firefox in market share, but when it comes to design influence, it's clearly the leader. With the recent releases of Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4, the "Chrome-zation" of the browser world is nearly complete.

When Chrome was first released, many people, including me, were unimpressed. Where were the menus? Where were the buttons? Where were all the froo-frahs we expect in a browser? Even as late as Chrome 2.0, I was complaining about its bare-bones interface.

Slowly, though, it grew on me. With that simple, stripped-down interface, Web content is front and center. Browser navigation and features recede. I began to realize that there really aren't that many browser features you need to see, as long as you can dig down somewhere to find them.

Clearly, both Microsoft and Mozilla agree. When Internet Explorer 9 was released a little over a week ago, it featured a Chrome-like interface that eliminated unneeded buttons and controls. As with Chrome, tabs were put at the top of the browser. And as with Chrome, the Address Bar does double-duty as a search box.

When Firefox 4 was released this week, it too sported a Chrome-like interface with stripped-down buttons, controls and navigation, and tabs placed at the top. That stripped-down interface is one of the best things about the new Firefox.

It's not clear whether Chrome will ever catch up to Internet Explorer and Firefox in market share. But it's influence will live on --- it's the design template for browsers of the future.

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