By Harry McCracken | Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:42 am
I’m not sure if this is new, or it’s just the first time I’ve noticed it: When I go to the Google home page on my MacBook Pro in Safari, I’m getting a little ad for Google’s own Chrome browser:
I started to wonder if it was a skirmish in the Google-Apple wars, but probably not: I’m getting the same ad in Firefox. (Not in Opera, though–I guess there aren’t enough users to make trying to lure them to Chrome worth the effort.)
Over in Windows, Google has used its front page to tempt IE users to switch in the past. (I’m not getting Chrome ads in other Windows browsers at the moment, though.) There’s only been an official shipping version of Chrome for the Mac since December–and maybe Google decided to wait a bit before it encouraged defections from other browsers. The polite upper-right-hand-corner message may be a relatively soft sell, but Google can put that soft sell in front of a lot of people if it so chooses.
Google’s promise that Chrome is “a faster way to browse the Web” may confuse some Macheads, since Apple is still touting Safari as the world’s fastest Web browser. But Apple’s benchmarks are from last August, and the Mac version compares Safari only to what’s now an out-of-date version of Firefox; Chrome isn’t even in the picture. Tom’s Hardware’s recent browser speed tests have Chrome eking out an overall edge on Opera and Safari, so Google does have bragging rights; Tom’s tests, however, were done under Windows.
If Google is saying that Chrome for OS X was faster than Safari and Firefox in some formal test, it doesn’t seem to be disclosing the details–the section on speed at the Chrome download site is devoted to a fanciful Rube Goldbergesque video:
I’ll be interested to see how well Chrome does among Mac users. It may be a tougher sell given that there doesn’t seem to be rampant disgruntlement with Safari, the Mac’s default browser. Among Technologizer visitors, for what it’s worth, about 11 percent of Mac users visit via Chrome–versus about 18 percent of Windows users who run Google’s browser.