Google’s Real Reason for Chrome

Call me cynical, but I think there’s more to Google’s new Chrome browser than a stable platform for web apps. At least, I hope so. My experience with Chrome has been a mixed bag. Although I love Chrome’s clean appearance, it has issues:

  • Adobe Reader makes all of Chrome’s tabs inaccessible until the document is fully loaded.
  • Attempting to select all the text in a text form field by pressing CTRL-A sometimes results in selecting the entire page.
  • Streamed audio using Windows Media plugin in one Chrome tab will stutter like a skipping record while another tab renders.
  • Chrome even has issue with Google’s web apps (especially Google’s web apps?). For example, the “J” key doesn’t always mark an item as read in Google Reader, especially if there’s only one unread post.

No, if stability was its goal, Google would have (should have) waited.

Google is an advertising company. The more data Google gets, the better it can target its advertising. I can imagine Google’s engineers sitting around a conference room table, scheming to get even more data from us. “I know,” one particularly devious engineer must have laughed. “What if we could get all the searches people do on any web site, not just on Google?” “How could we ever do that?” another might have asked. The answer was simple: make sure they use a Google tool for all searches. Chrome’s Omni bar is that tool.

Every URL you ever type into your Omni bar goes straight to Google, whether you press enter or not. If you use the tab key to search other sites from the Omni bar, Google gets that, too.

Sure, it’s possible to hide this data from Google, but do you want to give up all the help the Omni bar provides as you type? Not me!

And that’s what Google’s betting on.

What do you think? Are you buying Google’s story?

Or am I being too cynical?

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