chrome 6 birthday
A bad composite image, but you get the idea

Six years ago today, on September 2, 2008, Google Chrome was announced to the world. Its aim: to improve user experience and ‘help drive innovation on the web.’

Today it commands a whopping 49 percent share of the desktop browser market worldwide¹, a figure it has reached in part by living up to its original ideals.

Chrome has pushed forward the adoption of new technologies, open standards, APIs and innovative new features.

On mobile, where it now accounts for almost 20%² share as of August end, it is going even further, becoming a bridge spanning the multi-platform, multi-device world.

But more than just accolades and marketshare Chrome has also become an integral part in the daily lives of millions. From our desks, to our backpacks, and in to our pockets, Chrome is a product that’s transformed the way many of us work, socialise and have fun — both online and off!

It may be six years old today, but something tells me Chrome is only just getting started.

Six Years, Six Things

Last year Google celebrated Chrome’s birthday by announcing a big push for Chrome Apps. This year they’ve been quieter, venturing a few brief words on Google+.  To fill the gap I had a think about some of the features Chrome has brought that I would be lost without.

Chrome Sync (2011)

By signing into Chrome with a Google Account my bookmarks, extensions, app passwords and settings are kept in sync across all my devices. I can open a tab on my Android tablet, then instantly pick it up on my desktop. I can delete a bookmark on my MacBook and see the change reflected instantly on my phone.

And if a bus ever runs over my Chromebook I just need to sign into Chrome and I’ll have pretty much everything back in a flash!

Chrome Apps (2013)

Google’s breed of near-native applications have blurred the lines of what it means to be a desktop application.

Folder watching, file system integration and the ability to leverage hardware mean the possibilities and potential for these little apps are continuing to grow.

Safe Browsing (2011)

It doesn’t matter how cautious we are when browsing the web, it’s still far too easy to come across ill-meaning traps, malware downloads and rogue sites not being entirely what they claim to be. Google is always working to make the web safer.

This security-first ethic is super evident in Chrome, which has baked in warnings against known phishing sites and malware peddlers, and now automatically blocks malicious software downloads before they can wreak havoc.

Chrome Notifications (2013)

The Chrome Notification Center may not have won over everyone but personally I love the consistency it brings to notifications from my favourite apps, websites and services. The addition of Google Now only adds to the usefulness, keeping me on top of the weather, travel info, sports results and shipping notices.

Chrome OS (2009)

With the web now integral to most of us and our work it was a logical step to build an entire operating system around it. Despite a few early stumbles Chrome OS has managed to find not only its feet but enviable success, too.

Rapid Release Schedule (2010)

Once upon a time browser updates arrived randomly and in dribs and drabs. Chrome arrived with a faster, iterative-driven release cycle, with testing spread across multiple channels. The switch to a 6 week cadence in 2010 proved so successful that other web browsers quickly followed suit to adopt similar rapid-release schedules.

 1. StatCounter, June – Aug 2014.
2. StatCounter, June-Aug 2014
Google Chrome chrome birthday