Unfortunately for the so-called Golden Age of Browsers, Chrome is the gorilla in the room, but not all followers are going in Google’s direction. What happened?
Google’s Chrome is earth’s most popular and most used browser regardless of platform– other than Apple’s own where Safari rules. Chrome is tops on Windows PCs, towering over Microsoft’s anemic browser duo (and Microsoft plans to reintroduce its lame Edge browser dressed in Chrome stripes), and far more than Mozilla’s wonderfully crafted Firefox.
Chrome is based upon a free and open-source project called Chromium, itself somewhat controlled by Google. Chromium makes up the base of Microsoft’s new Edge browser, Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and dozens of other lesser known browsers. Chrome plans to put speed bumps and road blocks into the ad blocker and ad tracker trend that has become dangerously successful.
That means a future version of Chromium– and by extension, Chrome– will not have the same ad blocker and tracker knocker capabilities as Firefox or even Safari. What of those somewhat popular Chromium-based browsers– they have hundreds of millions of users– Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, et al?
Will they succumb to Google’s Chromium and Chrome rule? Or, will they chart their own course?
Catalin Cimpanu on Brave:
Brendan Eich, CEO of Brave Software, said the Brave browser plans to support the old extension technology that Google is currently deprecating… In addition, Brave itself supports a built-in ad blocker, that users can utilize as an alternative to any extension.
That’s good news.
What about Opera? An opera spokesperson brought this message to Cimpanu:
All the Opera browsers, both on mobile and PC, come with an ad blocker that users can choose to enable. This means that Opera users aren’t really exposed to these changes – unlike users of most other browsers
Good news again.
Next on the list of those Chromium-based browsers that I like, use, and recommend is Vivaldi. A company developer:
The good news is that whatever restrictions Google adds, at the end we can remove them. Our mission will always be to ensure that you have the choice
This brings to mind a great quote from Yankee Hall-of-Fame catcher, Yogi Berra.
When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Chromium has a fork in the road in the way of Brave, Vivaldi, and Opera, and likely others that will not follow Google’s dictated path and ensure that ad trackers and ad blockers stay as party of the package.
How will Google respond?
Only time will tell, but for now Google’s browser friends are not acting much like they enjoy a bigger friend dictating how their business model should operate.
Remember, it is likely that Google also provides each of those browser users with revenue from Google search results, and future negotiations may be bumpy affairs.
The Golden Age of Browsers has another fork in the road.