Google's Chrome Browser Nowhere To Be Seen, Market Share Drops in January
Google's homemade Internet browser has been heavily promoted by Google since its debut in September of 2008. Google's baby, Chrome, promised to make Internet browsing faster, safer, and all around more enjoyable. It delivered, for the most part, on its promises. Then, Google went a little crazy with its promotional campaign. Ironically, the way Google promoted itself caused Chrome to virtually disappear from the search results.
Market share for Chrome has mysteriously dropped over the last month - down 0.17 percent. A company that tracks market share of browsers suggests that it's because Google effectively banned itself from the search engines.
Net Applications, which tracks some 160 million unique visits per month, reports that Firefox and Safari also saw market share losses in January. Who is getting all of the browser love? Microsoft, if you can believe it. Microsoft's Internet Explorer saw an increase in January of 1.09 percent. This represents the biggest gain for Microsoft in at least two years.
Still, Internet Explorer's trend is down, while Chrome, Safari, and Opera seem to be flat-lining. Firefox appears to be holding steady, with a possible slight downward trend.
If all of this seems confusing, it's because it is. Google has long been an advocate of creating a better user-experience on the web. The company's TOS explicitly forbids the use of paid links and other forms of webspam. Any website caught gaming the system is swiftly, and severely, punished in its search engine.
Last month, however, Google engaged in some serious webspam of its own. Yes, the big "G" used paid links and garbage content to promote its own web browser. It appears that Google knows its own weaknesses. What no one expected was that it would game itself to get better rankings. In a way, it doesn't make any sense. Google could just advertise its own web browser at the top of its homepage, above sponsored links, or anywhere else it wants to on its own web properties, couldn't it?
Instead, Google exploited its own system, and then turned around and banned itself from search results. Google's attempt at link spam drew sharp criticism from the blogosphere, with many SEO experts and Internet marketers both astonished and disgusted by Google's hypocrisy. For the first time in its history, it was blatantly obvious that Google was violating its own terms of service.
For a while, Google's Chrome browser was not showing up in search results when users went searching for “browser,” “web browser,” “download web browser,” “chrome,” “google chrome” or “chrome browser.” Some search terms now seem to yield positive results, so Google's loss of traction may only be temporary. From here on out, it's anybody's guess what will become of Chrome. Chances are, Google will not kill its baby, since it worked so hard on developing it.
Maybe in the future, Google won't be so blatant about spamming itself. Or, maybe it will figure out how to garner merit-based links so that it legitimately ranks for its own products.