Does Google’s new Chrome browser matter? Some people think it does. One of them is Lehman Brothers analyst Douglas Anmuth. In a note sent out on Tuesday, he predicted that Chrome would soon catch up to Firefox in market share:
With Firefox having gained approximately 20% percent market share over the past 4 years, we believe Google Chrome could gain 15-20% share within 2 years.
A lot of the attention so far has been on the possibility of Chrome being a Windows killer (by supercharging Web browsing and Web apps so you really won’t need desktop apps). But Chrome’s bigger opportunity might be on mobile devices running Android. Anmuth writes:
Chrome’s biggest benefit, however, could come on mobile devices if Google bundles Chrome into Android and gains distribution on other devices. We believe the simplicity and open-source nature of Chrome is well-suited to the mobile environment.
Both Chrome and the Android browser are based on WebKit and Google Gears. So they are very compatible. And Google Gears can be very useful for Web apps on mobile devices, where network connections can be spotty. (Update: Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that Chrome is coming to Android.)
Put Chrome on all of those anticipated Android phones, and catching up to Firefox will become that much easier.