I’m back after Easter break. We have 26 new people that joined the Ideas to Makers crew over the past two weeks! I just wanted to take a second and welcome you all.
This week I’m taking a look at the market of Chrome Extensions. Here are some facts:
- There are about 2.94 billion users on Chrome
- There are only about 147K extensions and 19K apps on the Chrome store
- Compare that to 1 billion iPhone users and 1.96 million apps - that’s a huge opportunity to develop more apps on the Chrome store
Now, why isn’t that happening? Some will say that people are not used to paying for Chrome apps, and that’s true. However, people are used to paying for software in general. I think the Chrome Store can be looked at as a distribution channel, with monetization happening elsewhere. Take Evernote or Notion. You might be paying for a premium package and use their free Chrome web clipper apps.
You might ask: Ok, but even though there are fewer apps on Chrome than on the iPhone App Store, there’s still a ton of apps already. Where should I start?
The Chrome store is plagued with poorly executed extensions and apps. It’s likely due to low developer interest. And that’s a great opportunity for indie makers.
The goal: source Chrome extensions with a lot of users and only 2 - 4 star ratings. Develop a more polished app.
Save to Google Drive - a better web clipper for the masses.
🐣 Idea genesis
I was listening to the My First Millions podcast on the opportunities in Chrome extensions. I wanted to exercise my ideation muscle and come up with an actual Chrome extension opportunity.
To find extensions with the lowest rating, I used ChromeStats. In ChromeStats you can view extensions by rating score. First, I looked at the low score categories but didn’t find anything of interest to me (I was on the free plan, which just lets me view a few extensions per category). I progressed upwards and when I was in the 4 to 4.99 score I stumbled on Save to Google Drive. An extension developed by Google to, well save stuff to Google Drive. When I read the reviews I realized that it only lets you save images, but the users actually want to save all kinds of stuff - entire websites, PDFs with original links, not just PNGs. This looks like an actual opportunity! Here is some of their feedback:
A popular Chrome extension (5M users) - Save to Google Drive just lets users save images, but they want more.
Build a web clipper for Google Drive that’s distributed in the Chrome app store. The web clipper would allow users to save an entire website with text and all kinds of file types.
💵 Possible Monetization Streams
- This would be a freemium model since a lot of users in the app store are used to free apps.
- But the distribution is huge and it is possible some power users will be open to paying for advanced features.
👍 What are the benefits?
- Users can save things they previously could not using the original extension from Google.
🤑 Are people currently spending money on this?
- Short answer - NO. This is the tricky part here.
- People are spending money on apps like Evernote and Notion that have a web clipper. But no one is paying for a dedicated Google Drive web clipper as far as I know.
- My bet would be that some people would use this extension at work and would be more likely to pay for it since it would be a business expense.
✅ What do I need to validate?
- Do people need a web clipper for Google Drive?
- Are they willing to pay for a premium set of features?
🧰 How I'd validate?
- Build a landing page that describes the features of your Save to Google Drive extension. Add designs, to facilitate communication.
- Add an email capture to your landing page.
- Post your landing page as a reply to the unhappy people in the reviews of Save to Google Drive. Unfortunately, the link in your comment won’t be clickable, but some frustrated users will take the time to copy and paste it into their browsers.
- Reach out to everyone that signs up on your landing page and ask them in a simple plain text email what they are trying to use the extension for and what is their biggest frustration.
- Ask them if they would pay for advanced features:
- Save the text of a webpage to Google Docs
- Save an entire webpage as a PDF
- Annotate screenshots
- Support for multiple Google Drive accounts
- If you see interest, you should be ok building an initial prototype.
🤔 How will I get first 10 customers?
- Spend time in the review section of apps related to Google Drive and try to reach out to people individually.
- Ask your first users for reviews. Your app will grow in popularity in the Chrome app store. Distribution should follow.
📈 Will it be sustainable
- If you can prove the monetization hypothesis, this could be a sustainable business.
- There is the downside of building this on top of Google Drive, but if Google has not addressed the major issues in this extension in the past 5 years, it’s likely they won’t any time soon. And it’s a great way to build a small side income.
👉 Am I the person to build this business?
- If you like productivity apps and helping people optimize their workflows.
- If you know how to use Google’s APIs or can learn fast.
- If you’ve developed a Chrome app or are willing to learn how to.