The Google Chrome Three Year Plan

Has anyone else noticed the recent increased push of Google Chrome? Recently Google added a banner ad to their homepage. Chrome’s banner owns a piece of real-estate on the homepage of YouTube.com. And it’s impossible to ignore Chrome image ads that are plastered all over Google’s display ad network sites.

Unless I’m just noticing this, the aggressiveness of Google Chrome advertising has exploded in recent weeks.

If Chrome is able to grow market share to any significant ratio, where will it come from? It won’t come from Safari. It won’t come from IE 7 or 8 because those who use IE only use it by default.

In my opinion, Chrome’s market share will have to be taken away from Firefox. Safari users are too loyal and IE users simply don’t know better.

Should Mozilla feel threatened by Google’s recent moves with Chrome?

In 2006 Google revenue support accounted for 85% of Mozilla’s total revenue. Back then, Mozilla CEO John Lilly was quoted as saying, “We’re very, very happy about our relationship with Google and this makes sure that Mozilla will be sustainable and thrive for quite a long time to come”.

John Lilly’s comment in addition to Google financial support suggests that Mozilla is largely reliant on their current relationship with Google. However, in 2007, Mitchell Baker (Chairwomen of the Mozilla Foundation) was quoted on ComputerWorld.com as saying, “We’ve spent a lot of time and energy making sure that Google understands that it cannot turn us into an arm of Google,” and “We have a rainy day fund just for that reason. With that, we feel we can pay the mortgage for some period of time if we had to walk away.”

Baker’s comments came well before the most recent three year deal. Perhaps Google saw that as motivation to become serious about developing its own browser. I’m sure I’d have a difficult time convincing anyone that the timing of Google Chrome’s release was a coincidence.

Chrome beta was released on September 2, 2008, just five days after Mozilla signed the three-year search deal on August 28th, 2008.

If Google Chrome gains traction, Mozilla has just over two and a half years to find an alternative revenue stream. Google is making moves to take Firefox’s market share and replace the traffic to Google.com that Firefox currently provides.