Chrome’s continued dominance of the web now puts it in the same position as Internet Explorer all those years ago. “It works on Chrome” is the new “It work on IE”. I’d like to think though that most web developers out there don’t just build for the one browser.
Reda Lemeden’s post, “We Need Chrome No More”, sums up this change.
The dominance of Chrome has a major detrimental effect on the Web as an open platform: developers are increasingly shunning other browsers in their testing and bug-fixing routines. If it works as intended on Chrome, it’s ready to ship. This in turn results in more users flocking to the browser as their favorite Web sites and apps no longer work elsewhere, making developers less likely to spend time testing on other browsers. A vicious cycle that, if not broken, will result in most other browsers disappearing in the oblivion of irrelevance. And that’s exactly how you suffocate the open Web.
While I can see Reda’s point, I don’t think that the developer’s building for the one browser is as big a problem. I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I visited a website that only worked in Chrome.
For me, the problem isn’t so much that Chrome is the most popular browser, it’s the organisation behind the browser and how they integrate features into that browser that support how they use data and ads to make profits.
Switching to another browser is one answer to this problem, but perhaps there’s also another answer.
For Google to change as an organisation.
That sounds like a pipedream, and even looking back at that sentence, it just seems ridiculous. I’ll leave it though because even the most ridiculous of ideas can still happen.