Sunday, September 07, 2008

Chrome's impact on Web-based Learning

Noise to Signal With Google's release of Chrome, it's new browser, one has to wonder what impact it will have on the web-based learning development community. For those of us who create courseware for the corporate world we have long used Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the standard by which we measure the functionality of our output.

Part of this is because the corporate world has viewed Microsoft and its products, the software equivalent of General Motors. And to paraphrase the old saying, "What's good for Microsoft is good for the country." (In fairness, it appears that saying was a mis-characterization of what Charles Wilson, then CEO of GM actually said. ) Internet Explorer is so intertwined with the Window's operating system that it has become defacto corporate browser of choice.

But can this corporate mindset stand much longer. Mozilla Firefox is slowly cutting into IE's overall hold as the world's preferred browser. In the past eight months IE's percentage of the browser market has decreased over 6 percent, although it still controls a large 73% market share. It will definitely take a more secure release before Chrome can even be considered by the corporate world. But the overall concept is intriguing because it is taking Microsoft's approach to grabbing the lion's share of the browser market but in reverse. By bundling it with Google Gears, it has made it easy to use Google's online office application tools including setting up desktop icons to access Google Docs, Google Gmail, etc.

Time will tell whether Chrome becomes a hit or miss, but my gut feeling is that it will find its niche market in the small and medium corporate world. Google already bundles secure solutions with its other main services and Chrome could become the icing on the cake. Even if Chrome does not catch on, the publicity will make people start to reconsider IE and we, as an industry, will no longer be able to rely on IE as the sole yardstick for usability. Tags: ,,