I like Chrome. It’s a great browser. But it’s not so good that it deserves to be the only browser. And that’s the unfortunate opportunity we, people browsing the web, are opening for Google by so overwhelmingly choosing to use it in face of the alternatives.
And this is what we get by doing so: DirecTV just announced that they’ll be turning their website into a Chrome desktop app on June 1st. They don’t actually say that, but that’s what they mean. You can’t call directvnow.com a website if it only works in a single browser.
You don’t have to be that old to remember the dark days when Internet Explorer strangled the web by its utter domination. When large swaths of the web was only accessible through Redmond. Those were not happy days.
Ironically, it was Google’s Chrome that helped fight back the scourge of Internet Explorer’s monopoly. Well, that plus the utter neglect and contempt Microsoft showed the web in those years after they had cut off the air supply to Netscape. Would you believe they even disbanded their browser team after they had conquered the competition? Yup.
Why on earth would we want to go back to such arid times? Nobody wins when the beancounters at companies like DirecTV can eye the browser market shares and justify turning their back on the open, standards-backed web to embrace a few cents on the dollar supporting only the victor.
But you can stop it. By balancing the browsers, choosing to use not just what’s convenient, but what’s lesser used, you can make the business case for monopoly plays a bad deal. Consider it your civic duty as a fan of the open web.
It’s never been easier on web developers to support evergreen browsers. You no longer have to cover every variation of every flavor. Good browsers update automatically. And good browsers support open standards to a degree a developer in 2005 would have cried to have.
So please, if you’re using Chrome, take a moment to download another browser and incorporating it into your routine. I personally love Safari and use it for the bulk of my browsing (with Chrome as a pair for development). But the good folks at Firefox deserve your usage just as much.
Oh, and if you’re a customer of DirecTV, please tell them what you think about their short-sighted move on Twitter. I hear they just love to get feedback!