Google spurns web ads for Chrome

Opinion: The search giant obviously has some reservations about the power of the web as it chooses to promote its Chrome browser through TV ads.

While search behemoth Google has made countless piles of cash from the web, it would appear that the company remains unconvinced about teh interweb as an advertising medium, choosing instead to spend big bucks on a nationwide TV ad campaign to promote its struggling Chrome browser.

Since its launch last year, Chrome has failed spectacularly to attract users away from the evils of Internet Explorer, the pathetic font rendering of FireFox, the enigma that is Opera and the pile of crap that is Safari.

Chrome has now reached the milestone of release 1.0 and may even release a Mac version later this year that could allow it to reach the dizzy heights of the world’s eighth favourite browser. Since its launch last year, it has rocketed to a market share of err, almost 1.5 percent.

The choice of TV rather than web advertising would seem to indicate that Google is going after the huge number of technically-unsophisticated users who are quite happy with Internet Explorer or, more likely, simply neither know nor care which browser they are using as long as it works. Another word for ‘technically-unsophisticated’ people is, of course, ‘normal’.

Try this simple experiment. Next time you’re in a bar, ask the average customer which operating system they use. Most of them will reply ‘Windows’. Ask them which version and the vast majority won’t have a clue.

Now ask them which browser they’re using. Most will reply “What’s a browser?” A few will say Internet Explorer (but they won’t know which version). A small number of people might know they’re using FireFox, because their uncle who ‘knows about computers’ installed it for them.

Beyond that, the chances of actually finding a normal person who knows or cares which browser they’re using is vanishingly-small.

Exactly why Google, Apple and Mozilla persist in trying to persuade people to stop using a free browser they already own with another one, is what most people would describe as a heavy lift.

And why these companies persist in throwing money at lawyers to file complaints that Microsoft giving away a free browser is somehow unfair to other companies wanting to give away a free browser transcends the laws of common sense, but not the laws of lawyers being prepared to take money from any old sucker.