I can’t work out why Google Chrome use grew so much in early 2009

Posted December 9, 2010 in software  |  5 Comments so far

A few days ago Google announced its new operating system, the Chrome OS – here’s a link to the official announcement.

One thing that caught my eye was this graph showing the growth of the Chrome browser since its launch in 2008:

Chrome usage since September 2008

See the dip that comes only a few weeks in? I was part of that, because I abandoned Chrome around then too. If my experience is anything to go by, that dip was largely caused by people going back to Firefox because they missed the add-ons.

You’ll also notice an even more dramatic upsurge that comes in the first quarter of 2009. What made so many people start using Chrome back then?

It wasn’t support for extensions – they didn’t launch properly until January 2010. It might have been the Chrome TV ad, but that wasn’t aired until May 2009. So what could it have been? This is going to be annoying me all day…

5 comments so far.  Post a comment

  1. Lindsey
    December 9, 2010 at 9:59 am [ Permalink

    I was part of the dip at the beginning as well, but and then rejoined in early 2010.

    Hm. I wanted to say it was because of Windows 7, but it’s too early for that. I’ve found that 1.0.154 was released on 2008-12-11, which was the first 1.x release, and then there were no more major releases until May 2009, when the MacOS and Linux developer versions were released (and where, if you could zoom in, I think there’s another upsurge). So perhaps that was the milestone of stability needed for large numbers of people to commit.

  2. Lindsey
    December 9, 2010 at 10:00 am [ Permalink

    Also, perhaps that was simply the interval that people needed have lapse after that first sharp dropoff in order to try again with the stabler version.

  3. December 9, 2010 at 10:31 am [ Permalink

    Dunno about the rest of the world, but the billboard campaign was pretty huge before the TV ad – I remember being blown away that there were adverts for a *browser* in tube stations and on roundabouts. The web was all about it too. And maybe January 09 was the tipping point when Firefox just became too bloated to carry out the simplest task?

  4. Brendan
    December 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm [ Permalink

    You’re right Kat, I forgot that the billboard campaign happened before the newspaper and TV ads!

    But now I remember freezing February mornings on Highbury & Islington’s outdoor Overground platform, my teeth chattering while I pondered the oddness of the big Chrome poster looming above me.

    And Flickr evidence proves it beyond a doubt:

    So I guess the campaign worked out, if that graph’s anything to go by. I wonder what other cities it ran in?

    @Lindsey – I slowly drifted back to Chrome in early/mid 2009, but for no main reason.

    Sometimes when I wanted to check the web quickly, I launched Firefox, got impatient waiting for it, then launched Chrome and got the info before Firefox even loaded. Over time I guess I became more likely to launch Chrome first and not bother with Firefox, but it was a gradual process.

  5. Johny
    December 1, 2015 at 12:50 am [ Permalink

    Chrome grew so much because of ADS, it was advertised everywhere, also because people think that since it comes from Google it should be good.

    Another thing is that Chrome doesn’t require administrator privileges to be installed, users can install it even without privileges, which allowed it to permeate even on “locked” computers.

    I am a Firefox user, Firefox e free and open source, it doesn’t favor a multi billion dollar company. Firefox works well, is fast, reliable and has a lot of configuration options.

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