It’s now just over a year since Google Chrome was first released, back then it was Firefox flying the flag as the alternate browser. Since then it’s all been about Chrome, its update schedule is mighty impressive and new features are almost appearing in front of your eyes. So is it just a matter of time before Chrome starts to eat away at what Firefox has built up over time? Thanks in most part and ironically Google.
When Chrome was first released Google made it clear that it wasn’t going to be competing with Firefox, so Internet Explorer was clearly in its line of sight. Google once said that it really did believe there was room in the market for another browser, many didn’t believe it.
So with perfect timing for the browser ballot window Chrome made very quick gains, Chrome is now at the point where it can make new releases every 6 weeks. Google’s philosophy is if a feature isn’t ready for the next release, it will drop it in to the next release following that, this is allowing Chrome to be released at a much faster pace. This kind of development plan is so quick, neither Firefox nor Internet Explorer can keep pace, I think for almost entirely this reason Firefox will begin to flounder. It might not happen immediately, it might not happen for some time, but it will happen. Even the most loyal of fans will eventually become discontent with the lack of fast paced development.
Firefox, since Chromes release hasn’t made any major updates. The promise of Firefox 4.0 has been in the offering for so long I believe it will be a massive ante climax, Firefox have said that Firefox 4.0 will be released before Christmas of this year, whether this happens will remain again to be seen. Although Firefox is now into 3rd beta version and has been in beta for around 1 year now, I am aware that it is now a very stable product, but in the longer term once released developers have then got to move quickly to bring addins up to speed as most people don’t tend to upgrade until they know that there addins work.
This is all coming on the back of Chrome this week announcing that Chrome 7.0 will be 60 times faster than Chrome 6.0, it is still only 2 weeks since Chrome 6.0 was released itself, and they are already able to make bold claims like this about the next version. Chrome will also be using graphics processing power in future versions to bolster the speed of things such flash, which we all know can be processor intensive.
Internet Explorer despite the ground made up by Firefox in recent years has been on reasonably stable ground for the last 18 months. Microsoft know that they aren’t going to come out of this unscathed, they are soon releasing their next version of Internet Explorer 9.0, features of this are also impressive but not revolutionary and from what I can tell still can’t match that amazing speed shown by Chrome.
Overall with such a fast paste development program, innovative features and blistering speed, I think it’s not if Firefox will lose market share, it’s when.