Google claims that their new Chrome browser was designed with users in mind – but Thomas Claburn’s article over at Information Week makes me seriously question that assertion. Quite a few of the browser’s features seem tailor-made to advance Google’s business interests rather than those of their users. For instance:

  • Rather than blocking popup ads, Chrome loads them into a minimized window. Since the ad is loaded, the advertiser will still be billed for an impression, but the user never sees it. Now, this isn’t an issue with Google’s ads, which are content-sensitive and shown inline rather than in pop-ups – but it certainly should make Google ads more attractive than pop-ups for advertisers. After all, why pay for something that isn’t seen? (For the record, Firefox’s Adblock Plus blocks pop-ups from loading, as do most other ad-blockers.)
  • Chrome combines the URL address box with the search box, which means that search results are likely to be skewed to Google advertisers.
  • Because of the combination above, Claburn suggests that typo searches and parked domains will be less profitable, and the ‘good keywords’, therefore, will cost more. Another score for Google.
  • Finally, removing menu bars and buttons gives advertisers more real estate in which to place ads – which means more ad revenues for Google.

Of course, all of this depends on Chrome being a success – and a big enough success to ‘revolutionize’ web browsing, and that might take years.


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