Google to Mac Users: Ditch Safari and Firefox, Use Chrome

By  |  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 But Apple’s benchmarks are from last August, and the Mac version compares Safari only to what’s now an out-of-date version of Firefox; Chrome isn’t even in the picture.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.


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28 Comments For This Post

  1. Stilgar Says:

    I’ve noticed the same ads on PCs when visiting with Internet Explorer. It doesn’t always show up though, but FYI, this is not unique to visiting from MacOS.

  2. jacobyjd Says:

    PPC Mac users to Google: build us a version and we will.

  3. Eoghan Says:

    I think they have been running those ads for months, at least since I switched to safari about three months ago. I use safari solely now and it doesn’t pop up every time i go to the google homepage, not sure what the criteria are- perhaps only when I clear the cache.

  4. ReynaldoRiv Says:

    Hey Google! I’d switch if you freaking made a PPC version! I already use it on Win 7 and love it, but I’m not buying a new Mac anytime soon, especially since I’ve got the fresh new PC.

  5. John Baxter Says:

    I seldom go to the Google home page, so I hadn’t noticed. I suppose I could install the thing on my old MacBook (earliest Intel model), and see how badly they mangle Mac conventions. Time to go fire the thing up.

    I primarily use Safari–there are things for which I have to use Firefox. If I can do those in Chrome, I might ditch Firefox.

    ReynaldoRiv: my guess: the high end of the probability range for a PPC version of Chrome is 0%. It could be less likely than that.

  6. Josh Says:

    I would use Chrome on my Mac but it still doesn’t support extensions. I need Delicious and LastPass and the ability to block Flash.

  7. sfmitch Says:

    I have yet to install Chrome on my Mac – I am waiting for it to get out of Beta. I really like Safari and have Firefox as my backup and Opera as the backup to my backup.

    I don’t have a great need for another browser but am happy to try new tech / software but am not a big fan of Beta software. For most things, I’d rather wait until it’s ready.

    Josh is right, there are certain features that are needed before Chrome can be anything more of a curiosity. For me, it would be support by 1Password and Click to Flash.

  8. Zatz Says:

    I switched from Firefox to Chrome on the mac last week to try and get a bit better performance from a browser with two dozen open tabs. First, Chrome does have extensions. Not all of them yet, but it’s a better situation than Firefox. Related, Chrome will sync my bookmarks via Google for free versus Safari’s MobileMe requirement. Lastly, I don’t like the way Safari handles popups/new stuff in anew windows versus new tabs.

  9. joe c Says:

    No way.

    Google doesn’t make the Mac enough of a priority. Look how long we had to wait until we even had a Mac version. And then we had to wait again just to get extensions, for crying out loud.

    I’ll stick with Firefox and Safari. Apple will always make Mac users number one (duh), and Firefox releases for all three major platforms at the same time. If Google will start doing that too and not make the Mac version seem like an afterthought, I’ll take a look again.

  10. Doc M Says:

    I have a MacBook, late 2008 Aluminum, 4GB Ram, 250 GB HD.

    Firefox? Meh. Had it. Used it, off and on, for a year. Didn’t care much for it. Removed it.

    Same with Google Chrome. Didn’t see any improvement over Safari. Removed that, too.

    You like Chrome? Great. Like Firefox? Go for it, knock yourself out. Try several different browsers. Some folks like Opera, and a few even like (gasp!) Internet Explorer. (I’m not one of those. In fact, IE8 really torqued me off, to the point I removed the shortcuts for it from several computers I maintain–and replaced it with Safari!)

    I’m of the opinion that the best anything is that thing that does what you want it to do, when you want it to do it, and with the least amount of fuss and bother.

  11. DWalla Says:

    Users to Google… no thanks… I don’t wish to participate in your data mining operation. My information is my own…. what I do is my own. I’m not for sale. Thank you.

  12. DWalla Says:

    Oh…. and Webkit2 is coming…. prepare for Chrome to eat WebKit2’s dust…..

  13. Jason Anderson Says:

    Apple to PPC users: Upgrade your computer already. It’s been 5 years. PPC is dead.

    Also, [Mac] Chrome has supported Extensions since January, Josh.

  14. Googleborg Says:

    Dwalla, Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.

  15. Tom B Says:

    Google seems increasingly desperate, with the Android facing stiffer headwinds.

    I saw a benchmark that showed Javascript being faster on Safari than Chrome. Of course, that’s just Javascript. But, basically, if I want speed, I use Safari. If I want maximum features and compatbility, I use Firefox. I don’t think I need a third wheel.

    Disclosures: long AAPL and GOOG– but likely to sell the latter next time they peak.

  16. DWalla Says:

    And the only reason why Chrome has some minor speed advantages on a couple of things is because of their splitting WebKit into two components (sandboxing)… however… WebKit2 is taking that idea to a whole new level…. Chrome will be munched….

  17. Jason Anderson Says:

    Chrome will take advantage of WebKit 2 as well. Don’t think they won’t. Safari will never support extensions out of the box and Firefox will never be native or as fast as the other Mac browsers. So Chrome still will always have a place.

  18. DWalla Says:

    Chrome is awesome for data mining!….. I soooooo want to give Google all my information….

  19. Jason Anderson Says:

    You’re a complete moron if you actually believe that for a second.

  20. Tehnophile Says:

    Actually it is anyone who doesn’t believe Google’s data mining operations is the moron. Google is a data mining company. They are not here to give free search engines and browsers and the like. They are the premiere data mining company. Second to none.
    They are behind the information collection to tailor ads to a particular computer / IP / user. They are involved in countless cease and desist letters regarding invasion of privacy, compromising national and international security regarding political figures, military bases and the like.
    Every search through Google is collected, categorized and used for their databases. Every use of their Chrome browser takes it to a higher level. The upcoming release of their OS, based on their browser, will allow them to collect every single bit of data you do, don’t do, when you do it and with whom on your computer.
    Nothing is free, so why do you think these items from Google are? Why is their stock so valuable? LINUX is pretty free, and yet no stock in these firms reach a percentage of Google’s. Why so valuable? Massive collected information.
    I used Chrome a bit on Windows. meh. It’s OK as far as a browser goes. Nothing worth replacing any of the others.
    Google…keep it. I’m not buying. Go get yourself some other sheep.

  21. DWalla Says:

    @Technophile….. couldn’t have said it better myself…..

  22. Amanda Says:

    Sorry, Google… but Chrome on OS X just isn’t that great. It’s just… meh. No reason to switch.

  23. Terrin Says:

    Seems strange to call Chrome the faster browser when it is still labeled a Beta. Rightfully so, as it still has problems handling standard things like Java. When those things are ironed out, it might lose some of it’s Beta speed advantage.

  24. Richard Petty Says:

    Jason Anderson: “Apple to PPC users: Upgrade your computer already. It’s been 5 years. PPC is dead.”

    Aaah… anthropomorphism.

    Computers don’t “die.” Sorry.

    And as far as platforms go, the service life of Macs is much, much longer than most Windows users could probably believe. Always has been.

    That said, I don’t think ignoring the PPC platform is actually a bad call. It’s regrettable but probably the right way to go.

    They’re barely able to squeeze out a half-baked version of Chrome for the Intel Macs. Can you imagine was a PPC version would be like?

  25. Jason Anderson Says:

    PowerPC is as dead as OS 9 is dead as floppies are dead. In Apple, and Steve’s eyes, (Companies don’t have eyes lololol) PPC is a technology Apple would like to leave behind as fast as possible. Too many bad memories like the 2 years they were stuck at 500MHz while the PC world was moving into 1GHz territory so Apple had to invent the “Megahertz Myth” and the whole “I guarantee in a year we will have the G5 up to 3GHz!” then couldn’t deliver because IBM.. or was it Motorola couldn’t get it up so to speak. The faster you leave behind the cruft, the faster you can get your stuff together. Plus, not having to compile for PPC saves a lot of space. (Thank goodness for Monolingual which is capable of cutting PhotoShop CS+ literally in half by removing the PPC binary.)

    I switched to Chrome because Firefox is a dog on OS X. At least Chrome is built for OS X with OS X in mind. Firefox just feels like a Windows app that has Mac compatibility as an afterthought.

    That said, why the heck haven’t any browsers added the ability to see all the tabs listed in a window when you right-click the Dock? And why hasn’t Apple devised a “Tab Exposé” mode for when a tabbed application goes into all-window Exposé mode? Just “explode” the tabbed window into its individual tabs and scatter them in with the other windows so I can see all my tabs at once. Alternatively, does Chrome have an “all tabs” tab or popup that can help me visually see all my tabs?

  26. LolNUBZ Says:

    To everyone who uses “Chrome” take a GOOD look at your outgoing traffic.

    Google made this browser for one reason, to keep track of what you’re doing, when you’re doing it.

    If you like privacy, boycott chrome.

    (Download wireshark and monitor the net when its running if you dont believe me)

  27. Ker Says:

    I'm not ditching Safari, I'm ditching chrome! I have a mac and already have chrome. i don't like it. It has the same geeky interface that google docs and gmail has, i.e., they work but don't have the level of design that I like. Ugly in my opinion. But i get this annoying popup. In response to it I'm uninstalling chrome altogether. Google is becoming another Microsoft. If it continues I will use other search solutions and only use google when needed.

  28. DWalla Says:

    Chrome….. the world’s fastest data mining app you could ever surrender to….

    No thanks.

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