A web browser is something you probably use every day, perhaps not even knowing its definition: “a computer program used to navigate the World Wide Web.” Simply put, your browser controls how and what you see on the internet.
Google’s browser, Chrome, currently holds a dominant position of market share. There are versions of Chrome for both Windows and Mac computers, Apple iPhones and Android phones, as well as for tablets and other devices. Collectively, Google Chrome commands an estimated 70% of worldwide browser usage.
Because web browsers are the way by which 99% of the Internet’s content is accessed, Chrome provides Google a powerful means of spying on and manipulating how most of the public use the internet. So for many years, I have happily avoided Chrome for my own personal use, but recent events are making it clear that there is no way to avoid it completely. Google’s market dominance has had an unintended effect. The market dominance of Chrome has made some lazy web designers even lazier. Some of these people responsible for creating and maintaining websites now make their websites compatible with only the 70% of people using Chrome, rather than taking the time to ensure that they also work correctly with Apple’s Safari, Microsoft’s Edge, and other browsers less popular than Google’s Chrome.
The emergence of this monoculture in web browsers has created an Internet where you may encounter a website created by a lazy designer, and that website simply does not load or function correctly until you try using Chrome. This is why I now have Google’s Chrome installed on my computer though I very rarely use it and have gone to some lengths to block its surveillance functions. If you have difficulty loading a web page using your favorite browser, see if Chrome works.
Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8@SMAguru.com.