Monday, September 20

Google Chrome: What it was like when it was launched 13 years ago | Digital Trends Spanish

On September 2, 2008, Google launched a product that sought to give a twist or a refresh to the way the internet was viewed until then: Google Chrome, for Windows XP.

The first version of the Google Chrome browser was very simple and minimalist. But in addition, it was launched in beta format and was announced to the world through a web comic, in which it was assured that the web pages of 2008 and had evolved to web applications.

Considering the above, it seemed like a good idea for Google to start with a totally scratch browser. And under that approach they built Google Chrome, which was based on open source elements and already used by what would be its competitors, such as the browser technology called WebKit, developed by Apple.

Because it is a media product – bad or bad, it was a giant like Google launching a web browser with a very renewed interface – during its first days many people downloaded Chrome, which quickly managed to amass 1 percent of the browser market.

However, these numbers declined rapidly in subsequent months. And, beyond the novelty, Chrome was missing some elements that were already trivial in browsers like Firefox: extensions.

Without going any further, the Firefox browser was launched with support for extensions since its first version in 2004. And it would take several years before the rest of the most popular browsers did the same, starting with Opera in 2009.

Chrome was released without extensions or with very poor access to them, which in a way undermined its popularity. Especially in the first versions, which did not offer the same functionalities as other browsers.

But in return, Chrome was more modern in meeting certain web standards. Proof of this was that the first versions complied without problems with the benchmarks Acid 1 and Acid 2; by comparison, versions of Internet Explorer at the time were never able to get past them completely.

And perhaps more importantly, Google bet heavily on stability, especially when working with tabs. The use of online documents was becoming more and more common and one of the most annoying problems was that if the browser crashed, not only the progress of the work could be lost but also the content of the rest of the tabs.

Google Chrome introduced a small but important modification to the management of the tabs: each of them was a world apart and independent from the others. And if one crashed, the rest of the tabs that were running at the time were not affected.

The speed and efficiency provided by Google Chrome meant that, gradually, users began to abandon Internet Explorer – still the most used browser at the beginning of 2010 – to switch to Chrome. Because while Microsoft did not know how to solve the eternal problems that dragged its browser, Chrome and its idea of ​​starting from scratch were just what the Internet user needed.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

In hindsight, one of the key points for Chrome’s success was that Google saw that the ecosystem of Internet websites was changing towards the end of the 2000s, but browsers – with certain exceptions – were still based on outdated and unprepared technology for what was to come.

Google Chrome, despite its somewhat hesitant beginnings, was born ready for that new internet. And that explains why Chrome’s current market share of nearly 70 percent is no mere fluke.

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