Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Google Chrome - Choosing business intel gathering over market share

Last night, I was installing Chrome on my netbook. When I got to the end of the setup, I received this prompt:

You couldn't really fault Google for setting Google Chrome to the Google Search Engine. After all, if someone is interested in Chrome, they are probably a fan of Google already.

And, these days, there are plenty of sneaky software installs that not only pick preferences like this for you - but might go behind your back and set the search engine of all your browsers. Heck, I just downloaded 7zip and somehow my Firefox home page got set to a new default. How sneaky.

Instead, Google has you pick from them and their competitors. Perhaps Google isn't just being non-sneaky here. If I had to guess, they are actually using the Chrome install as a chance to gather a little intel. Using this procedure, give users a chance to opt out of using Google, and then they can measure who doesn't.

So often, I see businesses who take every opportunity to make their service the one you use. Stopping, every once in a while, and seeing what people actually prefer - now that seems like something you could actually learn from. And if you can learn from it, you can make your product or service better.

Using this strategy you might lose some market share in the short term. But, in the long term you won't be blind to what your customers actually we want.

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