How Google Chrome Killed Internet Explorer?
How Google Chrome Killed Internet Explorer?

How Google Chrome Killed Internet Explorer?

There was a time when Internet Explorer was the king of web browsers. It was the default choice for millions around the world. But as the years went by, Internet Explorer started to show its age.

Launched back in 1994, Internet Explorer held a commanding 95% share of the global web browser market by 2003.

But now, despite being discontinued and scheduled to be completely shut down by June 2022, it only retains a 0.62% share. Meanwhile, its successor, Microsoft Edge, has carved out a 3.37% share of the market.

Today, Chrome is by far the most popular browser in the world on both desktop and mobile. You could even say Chrome killed Internet Explorer. So, how did Google accomplish this unbelievable feat in such a short time?

The Dawn of Chrome

Dawn of Chrome

Google Chrome made its debut in the web browser market on September 2, 2008. At that time, Internet Explorer was the dominant browser, but it was often criticized for its slow performance and security vulnerabilities. Google, known for its search engine, saw an opportunity to innovate in the browser space.

Unlike Microsoft, Mozilla, and other competitors who continued to base their browsers on legacy code, Google opted to start primarily from scratch. Google used a few existing tools to create Chrome, but for the most part, their approach to a browser was completely new.

When Google came on the scene, Microsoft hadn’t really thought much about reinventing the browser experience. In fact, Internet Explorer in 2008 was strikingly similar to its 1998 version.

But Google had ambitions to shake things up. From the start, their vision for Chrome was not merely as a browser, but as a holistic platform for a fresh way to explore the web. These aspirations pushed Google to innovate in several key ways, eventually breaking through with the largest browser market share in 2012.

In this video, we’ll take a look at how Google skyrocketed Chrome to the top from 2008 to 2012. There were three key contributing factors — the open-source nature of Chromium, revolutionizing web browsing with extensions, and the rise of Android and Chromebooks.

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2008: Launching in beta

Google launched the Chrome browser in beta on September 2nd, 2008. This was a very interesting time in tech. Smartphones were fairly new and apps weren’t really a big deal in 2008.

Already looking to the future, Google developed Chrome on top of the HTML layout engine, WebKit, which would support web apps like their popular Maps service. At the time the beta launched, Google made a comic to explain why they created a new browser in a sea of existing alternatives.

The comic itself is quite lengthy at 39 pages, but the first page gives a pretty good synopsis of Google’s philosophy. In their minds, the browser experience was completely broken.

People didn’t use the internet for just accessing research articles for school anymore, the web was a big place with content to consume.

One of the most innovative features for Chrome early on was the sandboxing of separate browser tabs. Unlike Internet Explorer, where a single tab crash could bring the whole session down, Chrome’s sandboxing ensured that the rest of the tabs remained unaffected.

This was a game-changer and indicative of how Google was looking to the future where apps would replace web pages as the primary tool for users.

Keeping this perspective, Google made its massive leap towards conquering the browser market in September 2008, when it launched the open-source Chromium Project. Open-source was not only a trending concept during that period, but it also attracted developers towards Chrome as a project.

Google understood the necessity of involving developers to accelerate Chrome’s enhancement, as well as to contribute to their forthcoming extensions gallery.

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2009: Chrome OS and extensions

Recognizing Chrome’s potential, Google announced an operating system based on Chrome in 2009 called Chrome OS. This lightweight OS was designed for netbooks and focused on cloud-based applications. But Google didn’t just halt their efforts there. It launched the Chrome Web Store, allowing developers to publish apps and extensions for Chrome, further enriching the browser’s ecosystem.

At the same time, users were converting to Chrome more and more. In July 2009, there were over 30 million people using Google’s new browser. A user base of 30 million in less than a year is pretty incredible, certainly something not seen before in the browser wars.

However, the greatest narrative of Chrome’s journey in 2009 wasn’t about Chrome OS or its swelling user base, but rather the unveiling of the extensions gallery in December 2009. This was the big turning point, where Google hoped to convince users that apps were the future of web browsing.

Both users and developers were immensely fond of extensions. Within just over a year, the extensions gallery housed over 10,000 extensions and themes. Customization is a deeply personal thing and people embraced the idea of personalizing their browser’s appearance and functionality.

As 2009 came to a close, Chrome had already secured 5% of the market share. Although this might seem trivial, it’s crucial to remember that Chrome was a newcomer competing in an already saturated market.

The unique blend of themes and extensions, coupled with Chrome’s impressive speed attributed to its sandboxing, signaled further momentum and potential market penetration in the forthcoming year, 2010.

2010: Monetization and the Chrome Web Store

Chrome Web Store

As Chrome’s user base grew exponentially, Google started to monetize its success. In August 2010, it began charging developers $5 to publish their Chrome apps in the extension gallery.

This move was not just about revenue; it was also a security measure as the fee allowed Google to implement domain verification for all new apps submitted for publication.

Meanwhile, Chrome’s user base was tripling from 40 million to 120 million in just 2010. At this point, Google was posing a legitimate threat to Microsoft’s dominance in the browser market. Microsoft, instead of innovating, focused on integrating Internet Explorer deeper into Windows with Internet Explorer 9.

Unfortunately for Microsoft, most of the features that IE9 brought to Windows were already present in Chrome

At the conclusion of 2010, Google launched the Chrome Web Store, offering a sophisticated platform for Chrome extensions and apps.

This store reshaped web usage and monetization, particularly due to the availability of ad block extensions. It also fueled Chrome’s growth and versatility, prompting Google to innovate further in advertising.

Despite Chrome’s momentum, Google aspired to further enhancements, incorporating new features, dedicated hardware, and an updated interface.

2011: A new logo, Chromebooks, and the tabs page

Originally, Chrome sported a 3D logo. By March 2011, Google modernized the outdated design to a flat icon, matching the contemporary trends set by Apple.

In May 2011, Google introduced Chromebooks, a novel concept of a laptop with no hard drive, performing all tasks via the Chrome browser.

Despite an initial slowdown due to the iPad launch, Chromebooks gained popularity, particularly in education, thanks to continuous improvement by Google and OEMs. This also boosted the user base for Chrome as a browser.

To cap off 2011, Chrome debuted another feature that would soon be standard across all browsers — the New Tab Page. The idea was genius, albeit incredibly simple.

Collecting all of your favorite Chrome apps or pages that you visit frequently just made sense. As people learned to customize the New Tab Page, it made browsing the web easier and accomplishing work more intuitive.

By the end of 2011, Chrome had nearly 25% market share, nearly a tie for second place with Firefox. To make the final leap, Google needed to bring Chrome to mobile devices.

2012: Chrome comes to Android and iOS

Surprisingly, it took Google until 2012 to launch its Chrome browser on Android, despite both products having similar inception dates in 2008.

This delay, however, was strategic, ensuring Chrome’s success on mobile platforms. The introduction of Chrome on Android, and later iOS in 2012, accelerated its market penetration.

By late summer 2012, Google’s Chrome was leading the browser market with a 31% share, primarily due to Chrome’s innovative features and Microsoft’s failure to update Internet Explorer. This led to Chrome’s eventual dominance, changing the way people browse the web. 

Conclusion: The Legacy of Google Chrome

In just over a decade, Google Chrome transformed from a new project into the behemoth we know today. Through innovation, embracing open standards, and focusing on the user experience, Chrome managed to dethrone Internet Explorer.

The story of how Chrome killed Internet Explorer is a testament to the power of innovation and adaptability in the ever-evolving world of technology.

Internet Explorer, once the king of browsers, was dethroned, and a new era, the Chrome Age, began. It seems highly unlikely that any other browser will be able to challenge the monopoly held by Chrome in the foreseeable future.

Also ,Which browser do you use, and what has been your positive experience with it? Additionally, how do you envision the future of Chrome, Opera, and Brave browsers?

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