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December 18, 2008

Chrome Undone

No, this is not a new version of Google's homepage, it's just a summary of the most aggressive promotion for a Google product. Now that it's out of beta, Google Chrome can be added to any software bundle, can be a part of any distribution deal and any promotion.

If Sun offers the option to install an entire office suite when you update JRE, why shouldn't Google use a popular software like Google Earth to drive adoption to Chrome? When you try to download Google Earth from Windows XP or Windows Vista, Google shows this completely unrelated page:

Google clearly displays that it will also install Chrome and users have the option to exclude Google Chrome, but Google assumes that most people will just click on "Agree and download" without reading the content of the page. Before bundling Chrome with Google Earth, Google used a trick to install the toolbar:

Microsoft's desperate attempts to promote Silverlight made the company to show an annoying invitation to "enhance your experience on with Microsoft Silverlight" whenever you visit There are many ways to annoy your users, but does it really worth it?

{ via Blogoscoped }


  1. hah. the first screenshot was awesome.

    even more awesome are the google chrome ads just above this box from adsense. :)

  2. How exactly do you propose they get the word out about Chrome? Most of the world doesn't subscribe to Google OS, you know. They've never heard of Chrome. And they never will, unless Google tells them.

    This really isn't that annoying. You know what's annoying? Every time QuickTime got a software update I had to opt out of installing iTunes and Safari. That's why I nixed QT.

  3. Every time the Apple Updater runs it wants me to install Apple Safari and an update for the updater - never it seems, an update for iTunes (and Apple has no patch technology so you have to download the complete iTunes and Quicktime). The Adobe updater may even be worse since it ignores every attempt I make to cancel it out, even to the point in running in stealth mode.

    Microsoft's Silverlight is a pretty cool (and small sized) plug-in compared to the world of other over-sized downloads you cite.

  4. "but does it really worth it?"

    i dunno, does it?

  5. It is annoying, yes.

    It is not worth it.

    It is very Microsofty, and it will hurt Google.

  6. This is a promising direction for Google. I am pleased to see another great product out of Beta.

    And even more interested to see how it is marketed.

    Bundling software is the most effective way of targeting a less than savvy audience. It has allowed Microsoft to captivate the common user.

    By pushing products when requests are made for other tools, Google positions itself for wider exposure. End users need a reason to use software. Most of US will use it because we think it is slick, most of THEM will use it if you tell them to.

  7. Guess what? I REALLY wish I can use Chrome.
    But no Linux version yet... :-(

  8. I don't see how this is bad. The message is even printed in bold, and you can clearly opt out.

  9. Google Chrome is awesome! They build a superb browser, so now lets give them a chance to spread it, distribute it too the folks.

  10. While I'm not too fond of bundling software and I too find it really annoying (try to explain to your computer iliterate dad over the phone what he needs to uncheck every week when QuickTime checks for an update - grrrrr), as for Google Chrome, I really hope that Google will be able to steal some of the Internet Explorer's market share. 10 out of 10 web designers will agree - we *really* need to get rid of IE6 (and IE7 too) forever. ;) And if Google Chrome with the great WebKit rendering engine can help with that, I'll be more than happy.

    Good luck, Google Chrome, I wish you success, you deserve it.

  11. I tried accessing gmail from IE. The gmail loaded with a "Get Gmail Faster" in the place where they generally have "New Features" (just to the left of "sign out"). When I clicked it, it took me to a page promoting Google Chrome and FireFox with only a note about IE8 being avaialble in beta.

  12. I don't think it annoys the majority of users. Most users don't really know what's going on.

  13. Its really a slippery slope. On one hand, they are marketing and promoting a product which needs it since a large majority of users have no clue what Chrome even is or why they would even need it. On the other hand, it is essentially blurring their own principles about bundling software/services found here...
    "We believe software should not trick you into installing it"
    In my opinion, I think a small box that is checked by default at the top of the form FAR FROM THE LARGE DOWNLOAD BUTTON constitutes a form of trickery.

    So, to solve this problem, I think they should keep the option to help promote Chrome (give a brief summary of benefits, etc), BUT make it completely obvious that it is OPTIONAL by offering (2) download buttons.

    Button 1 (default): Agree and Download Google Earth Only
    Button 2 (option): Agree and Download BOTH Google Earth and Google Chrome browser

    There you go - it solves the business marketing issue and the user-friendly (do no evil) issue!

  14. When it comes to Chrome, I think google will have to outdo FF to make it big...or anywhere near useful.

  15. Chrome looks interesting, but until it is a native Mac application it is dead to me, and the majority of my friends and family.

  16. It's shabby behavior. Google has a massive base. There have to be better ways to get people using your browser than sneaking it in with other things.

    Google search engine has a massive user base. Simple informational advertising seems like a much better approach.

    I want Chrome to succeed, I really do. But cheap acts like this lower my opinion of Google.

  17. This is not the way Google should promote their product. We admired Google in past exactly for NOT doing this things.
    I think this act is seriously damaging people's opinion about Google. And because of this not only Chrome will suffer but the whole Google brand.

    Google don't go there!

  18. I'm pissed off I have to download Google Updater and have that service running on my computer in order to install or get updates to Google Earth. Can't Google Earth itself check the server for updates when it is launched, instead of using a separate program to do the checking? The updater isn't the common update implementation.

  19. Direct link to Earth 4.3 for Win:

    (Earth doesn't have an auto-update feature, there's only an option to manually check for updates)