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Daily Debrief: Why Chrome is catching onWhen Google introduced a Web browser earlier this fall, the debut was accompanied by much expectation as well as by much skepticism. But Chrome is starting to win over more converts--including CNET News' Stephen Shankland, who explains why on today's...
[ Music ] ^M00:00:04 >> Charlie: When Google introduced its Web browser earlier this fall the intro was accompanied by a lot of expectation, a lot of skepticism as well but it's made some converts including our special guest today. Welcome to the CNET News Daily Debrief, I'm Charlie Cooper along with our own Steven Shanklin [assumed spelling]. Steven you've got a piece up where you've basically announced to the world that you're switching, so -- >> Steven: I switched. >> Charlie: you switched from Firefox. >> Steven: Yeah >> Charlie: What coaxed you to make the move? >> Steven: Well, I didn't actually set out to switch to Chrome I just set out to try it just 'cause I wanted to see how the browser worked, evaluate it so I just started off running my personal email there in one extra little browser window. What got me to switch was the speed, it's faster and -- >> Charlie: How -- by a magnitude of what? >> Steven: Well, not by an order of magnitude or anything but appreciably faster and for just a lot of basic operations. Launching the browser, opening up a Web page, and a lot of those sorts of little tiny things you do a thousand times over everyday at least if you spend a lot of time on-line. And so, what happened was I just started with a personal email, well, I added the RSS Speed Reader and I added a little bit more and after a little while I noticed that I wanted Chrome to be the browser I was using so at that point I realized, oh, my subconscious has made the choice for me so I switched it over now it's the default. >> Charlie: Now, when you compare the implementation of the technology visa vie Firefox, what are we talking about in terms of who's out in front technologically? >> Steven: Ya know, they're both reasonably respectable browsers I think Firefox is much more mature in a lot of ways, the most notable example being extensions framework so you can plug in a lot of extension a lot of people like that. You can customize -- >> Charlie: I do. >> Steven: Firefox for a lot of different things one thing that many people request all the time for Chrome is some kind of ad block extension, very popular one, so, yeah -- >> Charlie: That's something our bosses want to hear but okay. >> Steven: Ads pay my salary for sure but certainly they're many other plug-ins that a lot of other people would like too so that's a legitimate advantage that Firefox has. And in fairness Firefox is still pretty snappy as a Web browser so it's not night and day faster but it was faster enough to get me to switch. >> Charlie: Firefox, Chrome, what have you if you step back 30,000 feet from the point of view of users it's a good thing because for so many years the state of browse innovation had basically stalled out after Microsoft wiped the floor of Netscape. >> Steven: Yeah, although Firefox actually has come on strong and it has -- it reignited the browser wars even Apple has gotten involved it's spending a lot of money on Safari, which now runs on Windows as well as Mac OS10. And, but, of course, Google jumping into the fray adds yet another incentive for everybody to get on the ball and also -- >> Charlie: And Opera, of course. >> Steven: Oh, and Opera, they're a lot of longtime Opera fans who are still quite vocal. Interesting, I just looked at CNET's statistics for browser use and Chrome is in 4th place with about 3.5% share of the browsers that came to CNET News in October so that's certainly not dominant but it's significant, I think, and it's increasing. >> Charlie: You talk with these folks often, as developers look over the horizon the browsing metaphor that we've grown up with is that likely to change substantively in the near term or are we stuck more or less with what we've got today outside of a extra do dad here or there? >> Steven: Here's my complaint about the term browser, it implies you're browsing the Web, you're -- it's a much more passive activity, I actually think. I mean, what I do a lot more is I use the Web, there are lots of things that don't feel to me like browsing, I tell my bank to transfer money from here to there, ya know, I post comments on blogs and, ya know, things that are much more interactive, I buy things and browsing seems to be a bit too passive, a bit too some sort of, ya know, receptacle for information. And I think the browser's actually becoming a much more powerful tool in that trajectory's continuing with on-line applications. You can do photo editing, ya know, obviously, Google, one of the big reasons they did Chrome was they wanted to push a lot of on-line document work so Google Docs, ya know, these are, ya know, significantly more powerful tools. Microsoft is going this way with on-line Microsoft Office so it's becoming much more active on the Web. >> Charlie: All fair points [inaudible]. On behalf of CNET News I'm Charlie Cooper. ^E00:04:33