The first time we wrote about Google Chrome it was an out and out technology post. Thereafter, rather off late we were talking more about Google’s marketing efforts to push chrome up the ladder. And now this bit of news is right up both a marketers as well as a technologists alley.
Google’s Chrome browser is closing the feature gap with Firefox by adding some early support for browser extensions. While savvy users have been able to run Greasemonkey scripts in Chrome for some time, recent developer builds include some new APIs for genuine extensions.
That’s right, Chrome is getting Add ons.
When Chrome launched last year, the biggest reason why it didn’t prompt a mass exodus from Firefox users was the lack of add ons and extensions that made Firefox a customised baby for many. One of the big reasons at least if not the biggest. And now with this piece of news Chrome is finally taking the big stride in closing the gap on Firefox. So while it is actually a technical upgrade of sorts, it is also a marketing effort to woo both the developer community of Mozilla as well as the users who love their plugin powered browser.
However, Firefox needn’t panic yet (if at all). Chrome currently has only two simple add-ons, both Google related. One shows the inbox message count at the bottom of the browser windowand the other to subscribe to RSS feeds in Google Reader. And if the dcoumentation is to be believed it is not as simple as clicking install as it is on Firefox. Essentially this news is an invitation for developers to begin building add ons for Chrome. Once they start trickling in, and begin developing interesting extensions one can expect users to come and test it out. However it will still have a long way to compete with the humungus add on environ of Firefox.
This then puts the question in Firefox’s court (when did they start putting questions in courts?). What will be their strategy? Obviously Chrome isn’t an immediate threat. However, the trouble will come when Firefox wants to grow its own share at the cost of IE.
Chrome as we have said in the past few weeks has been using all resources at its end to promote chrome and pull in users from IE (people who use Firefox already know Chrome so only IE users are targets of promotion). If these campaigns work, people who ideally should have come to Firefox will go to Chrome instead. They are moving from IE so they won’t bother about add-ons instead be impressed by speed. And when Chrome begins providing better add ons they won’t need to shift to Firefox.
What are you going to do about that Firefox?