The app for Google’s Chrome web browser now has more than 1 billion monthly active users, and smartphone usage is set to overtake its desktop usage, director of product management Rahul Roy-Chowdhury tells Business Insider.
That trend has shaped some of the team’s biggest ambitions for the coming year: finding ways to make the Chrome experience use less data — like through improving image compression — and encouraging developers to create “progressive web apps” which work in browsers like Chrome, but feel like apps.
A lot of Chrome’s new users are coming from emerging markets where smartphones are the entry point to the web and people have slower connections, so finding ways to make Chrome suck up less data is crucial if it wants those users.
“Mobile-first markets are very important go us,” Roy-Chowdhury says.
Google first launched Chrome nearly eight years ago — it was actually one of the most important initiatives spearheaded by Sundar Pichai, who eventually became the company’s CEO.
The browser is currently celebrating its 50th update, so Google shared these other stats on just how big Chrome has gotten: