“The web is what you make of it” – this is according to the statement at the end of Google’s new ‘Chrome’ internet browser advert, featuring Lady Gaga. But really, is the web what ‘we’ make of it, or how one web giant makes it for us?
With Google’s prominence in the world of online search, it was a natural progression for them to join the internet browser market. Google search was directly available in earlier IE and Safari browsers and they must have felt they were vulnerable to ‘default search engine’ browser changes brought around by Microsoft’s ‘Bing’ search.
Chrome was a new lease of internet life for many users in 2008. You could simply search Google directly from the address bar, without an independent form, which also meant users could find websites they may have mis-typed – great for business! With the growing popularity of Gmail, you could also see email counts from your browser window and visit your inbox in one-click.
Google Chrome is now two and a bit years old but it’s a big boy now in the internet browsing world. Keen to show it’s muscle – or should I say feminine side – Chrome have signed up with Lady Gaga – the pop music phenomenon – in a bid to show Chrome’s impact on Gaga and her internet community. In the digital age, Gaga is riding high. She’s managed to survive the music-piracy and seems to even embrace the digital change. Her new advert with Chrome depicts her using every aspect of the online universe, whether it be Google searches, YouTube videos or Twitter messages.
Now, it’s obvious to anyone watching that the video is targeted at a young, pop music-loving audience but it demonstrates the power that Chrome and Google really have on the internet world. Many who love Google’s work – I’m afraid I fall into this category, especially after my visit to their London HQ – can’t help but wonder is Google becoming way too powerful? They started as an honest search-engine competitor. Then a global search-engine giant. Next it was email, with Gmail taking place over Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. Google Video was a great competitor to YouTube but Google then decided to take out the competition and buy YouTube. Google Chrome browsing as I’ve already mentioned has now a firm grip in the browsing world. Android is taking the open-source mobile phone market by storm. Now what’s on the horizon? Well, Google Chrome is going to be their first attempt at an operating system. Yes, now we have Mac, PC, Linux and Chrome as operating system choices!
I remember Google mentioning when they cancelled Google Video after acquiring YouTube that they wanted to concentrate on ‘search’, as that was what Google believed they were good at. From what we’re seeing now, concentrating on search isn’t all they are doing. At the risk of sounding dramatic, if Google continue this trend, computing and the internet may soon be known as simply one word – ‘Google’.
So, where do we go from here? Should we continue to be ‘Gaga about Google’ and soak up every new project they produce, or should we starve our Google appetite and give the alternatives a chance?