Google, from its very beginning, thought it was so clever. It’s never really stopped thinking that.
And when it discovers competition — from what it deems an unworthy source — Google can become irritable.
Here is but the latest chapter, for example, in its riveting browser scuffle with Microsoft.
Once upon a time, Google created Chrome, a browser that actually seemed to work for fundamental things like video and opening more than one tab at the same time.
Humans, flocking fools that they are, immediately forsook their old browsers. Why, Chrome’s market share is now said to be almost 50 percent.
But then here came Microsoft with something oddly competent. Yes, it was still called Edge. But this Edge was smooth and sprightly. Which could be something to do with the fact that it’s based on Google’s Chromium platform.
Google seemed miffed that Microsoft had created a functioning browser. It told users Edge isn’t secure. Which is odd coming from a company that’s just been sued for allegedly tracking users’ private browsing activity.
Microsoft — the new soft, but sturdy version — intimated that apps from Google’s Chrome Web store mess up Edge’s inner workings.
But then Redmond realized it didn’t have so many fine Edge extensions, so it started to recommend Chrome Web Store extensions.
A truce. Peace. No more furrowed browsers.
Oh, but now Google just won’t let it go. Techdows has spotted that when users suddenly log on to their Gmail accounts from a new device — via the strange browser that is the new Edge — they get the standard security alert email message.
But a large part of it is now a slightly stroppy suggestion that they should use Chrome instead.
It reads: “Make the most out of Windows 10 with the Chrome browser. Chrome is a fast, simple, and secure browser, built for the modern Web.”
Does this mean that Edge is a slow, complicated and insecure browser, built for Caxton‘s paper klaxon?
Yes, you’ll tell me that Google has to advertise whenever and wherever it can. You’ll also tell me Microsoft does something similar when you use Hotmail via, say, Firefox.
But the more Google shows its competitiveness with any — even subtle — reference to Edge, the more it gives Microsoft’s browser credibility.
When you’re the market leader, it’s best not to acknowledge your lesser rivals. True, Google doesn’t specifically mention Edge here. Yet the fact that it feels so needy — this is a security alert, after all — as to remind any GMail-loving Edge users that Chrome exists shows more than a hint of insecurity.
OK Google, so someone logged onto their Gmail account via Edge. Be cool about it. Perhaps even perform a little survey and ask them what they think of Edge.
Or does Google already know that Microsoft’s new browser really is quite good, while Chrome is getting a little tired?