Google: A Web Browser Is Not A Computer, Not A Search Engine, And Not A Ham Sandwich

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482608166_8657a3616fGoogle has spent a significant amount of time over the past couple of years building a very impressive web browser, Chrome. By most accounts, it’s the fastest around, and isn’t system resource heavy, and those who use it seem to love it. But there’s a tiny little problem: Being the best product doesn’t matter when general users have no idea what the product even is. And I’m not talking about just your specific product, I’m talking about the product category in general. And I’m not talking about some crazy new tech, I’m talking about a web browser.

We’ve actually known since Google’s hilarious video this summer that plenty of normal people have absolutely no idea what a web browser really is, even though most use one on a daily basis. But today, Google has put together what can only be described as an extremely dumbed-down one minute video (below) and rudimentary website to attempt to explain to everyone once again exactly what a web browser is. And make no mistake, the undertone is clear: You should be using Chrome.

The web site consists of five parts: An area telling you what browser you are currently using, a place to show you the one-minute video, an area to show you a bit more about browsers and their performance benchmarks, an area to let you pick a new browser to try, and an area with tips and tricks for using a browser.

The video is much more subversive. While the first part is spent explaining what a web browser is not (not a computer, etc), by the end, Google throws out there that “the web browser is the most important piece of software on your computer.” And they continue, “so a faster web browser means that you’ll save time on every web page you open.” The hope there is that of course, people will look into what web browser is the fastest, and figure out its Chrome, and install it, since it is free to do so.

Of course, Google doesn’t bother to say that if you look up the fastest browser, find it to be Chrome, then try to install it on a Mac, you’ll be out of luck. Good luck trying to explain what Chromium builds are to these people, Google.

I all of a sudden don’t feel so bad having difficulty trying to explain to people what Google Wave is. And maybe now we know why Google actually is making Chrome OS: To stop having to explain to people what a damn browser is.

Screen shot 2009-10-06 at 12.30.27 PM

[photo: flickr/marshall astor]

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