Chrome is now the most popular browser across all devices, thanks to Android’s popularity and the rise of Chrome on Windows PCs and Mac computers. As Google continues to dominate our access to the web, information through its search engine, and services like Gmail or YouTube, Chrome is a powerful entry point in the company’s vast toolbox. While Google championed web standards that worked across many different browsers back in the early days of Chrome, more recently its own services often ignore standards and force people to use Chrome.
Chrome, in other words, is being used in the same way that Internet Explorer 6 was back in the day — with web developers primarily optimizing for Chrome and tweaking for rivals later. To understand how we even got to this stage, here’s a little (a lot) of browser history. If you want to know why saying “Chrome is the new Internet Explorer 6″ is so damning, you have to know why IE6 was a damnable problem in the early ‘00s.”
The IE6 problem was far worse than the Chrome problem. But those of us who experienced it, remember how problematic it was then so now the alarm must be raised early before the Chrome problem becomes too big.
The Chrome problem also differs slightly in that it is more around proprietary abilities in the browser itself, rather than proprietary extensions to HTML itself. The end problem however is the same, even if the root problems are slightly different.
I was a full time employee at Microsoft when IE7 was in beta and released. I did not work for the IE team, but the impact was huge. Even after the final release of IE7, many internal Microsoft sites did not work in IE7 and did not for a long time after IE7’s release. This forced many users even within Microsoft to remain on IE6, or in many cases of those in developer areas like myself we needed to resort to virtualization or a second PC with IE6 just to be able to file internal reports and other necessary job functions.