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Googles new browser, Chrome, has now been officially launched. As with most Google products we will most likely see quite a quick uptake of their new technology (based on WebKit, the open source engine used for Apples’ Safari browser) meaning that a not insignificant number of people will soon be surfing the web using this browser. Early figures put their market share already around the 2% mark but this is as yet unconfirmed.

It is worth noting that Google Chrome is still in beta and is not at full release stage just yet. Who knows when they might take it out of beta – Google Mail is still in beta after 4 years!

Any of you who use an Apple will be well aware that not all websites render correctly in Apples Safari browser – so will we see the same issues with Google Chrome? A very quick play around with Chrome and test of a few websites has shown that Chrome seems to be able to render most websites fine. While this may be true of the larger scale websites it s probably the smaller and lower budget ones which will suffer from having to maintain compatibility across so many different browser platforms.

Next steps

Websites should always be tested across multiple platforms to ensure that every potential viewer can see your website as you intend there’s little point in designing a website that works only with Internet Explorer if more than 20% of web users worldwide dont use it!

At last check Internet Explorer accounts for 76% of all browser activity worldwide, with FireFox accounting for 17% of the marketplace and Safari picking up 3%. The remaining 4% is taken up with the others – the main ones being Netscape, Opera & Konqueror.

Most importantly now you should ensure that your site works with Chrome. Get it downloaded (even if you never use it again) and browse your site. Sign-up for your own newsletter again, run through a sale (or whatever else it is that you want users to do on your site) and make sure it works!

Google Funny

Just as an amusing aside within the Google AdWords interface Chrome doesnt seem to be able to handle the normal date selection calendar (for viewing AdWords account statistics). Within the interface on other browsers you see the following:

Unfortunately, in Chrome you have to manually select the date:

I’ll stick with FireFox for viewing my Google accounts for the moment then!

The Moral of the Story

Check, check and check again! Make sure that your web development team is testing across all browser platforms and not just that the website looks ok but making sure that people can do what you want them to do without any problems regardless of whether they are using a PC or Mac with Chrome, FireFox, Safari or Internet Explorer. When a new browser, such as Chrome, is announced and released – check everything again.

Useful Links
Download Google Chrome (beta)
Download FireFox 3
Download Safari for Windows

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