Another day, another browser

You thought Apple’s PR was good, but when Google launches a product – today it was a new browser – it can pick up equally massive coverage (the front page of the BBC website, to name but one example). So why is a new browser (the application you use to look at the web with, like Internet Explorer, or Firefox) of any real importance? Here’s why, and here’s how it affects you.

If you have a decent web stats/analytics program running, you’ll probably be able to see that 80% of your website visitors are using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, and the bulk of the rest are using Firefox (Windows). However, you’ll also see that there are a number of other browsers which people will be accessing your site with: Firefox (Mac), Safari (Mac and occasionally Windows), Opera, etc. These might only represent a tiny percentage of visitors, but that’s probably several people a month, so you need to ensure your website works fine with those browsers. After all, you wouldn’t turn anyone away from your showroom or exhibition stand without looking, would you?

Therefore your website should have been tested with lots of different browsers – it should be taken as read that your website designer did this. If not, you should never have paid them in the first place (note: one of the things we’ll look at on our Insider Programme is how to test this out without having to set up all the different machines yourself). Testing isn’t hard, but despite this, there are no end of websites which show a complete mess in anything other than Internet Explorer under Windows. Does yours?

Which brings me on to Google’s new browser, called Chrome. For now, I’m not interested in all the features it offers, or the technical implications for the future. I just want to know if the websites I run look OK under it. I shall be downloading it today to see, and you need to make sure that task is on the to-do list for your website designer or manager too, because people will be using this product in increasing numbers over the coming months and years.

Search Engine Journal is one of many blogs which has already given its first impressions of the new Google browser.

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