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Archive for September 2008

Just wanted to let you now, as a follow up to the previous post, that it has now been more than a month since my last smoke. Probably the longest I’ve held up since I started smoking 12 years ago … also, I have now managed to kick the smoking ‘habit’ out of most of my everyday activities, like waiting for the train or preparing for a meeting. :)

I’ve been ambivalent for a while as to whether or not I should announce the following news. There is a small chance I might jinx it, which would be sad. But it’s been three weeks (yes I know you’ll probably think ‘a mere three weeks? that’s nothing!’ when you hear this but still), since I made the decision and things seem to be going well so, here goes…

I quit smoking.

And it is less than easy. But I’m holding out, and to quell the urge I started taking long morning runs instead.

It feels great.

Now I just need to stay on track and keep this promise to my self. I guess telling you all about it is one kind of strategy, it makes it harder and more embarrassing should I fail :)

A no-go?

Based on the It’s Not Working On My Machine principle, I conclude that Google Chrome does not support XBAPs. Is this confirmed?

I’m sitting here reading through the comic book (that would be marketing brochure) from Google outlining their new Web Browser project, called Google Chrome. Most of the news sites are abuzz already praising this yet to be released product, calling it “an innovative new open source web browser” that according to arstechnica.com will offer ‘extraordinary’, ‘unprecedented’ and ‘revolutionary’ new features.

It could also be seen as another step in Googles ongoing attempt to monopolize the web, but that would be mixing technology and politics. Let’s do just that :).

As blogoscoped.com writes:

Google is playing this as nicely as possible by open-sourcing things, with perhaps part of the reason to try to defend against monopoly accusations – after all, Google already owns a lot of what’s happening inside the browser, and some may feel owning a browser too could be a little too much power for a single company (Google could, for instance, release browser features that benefit their sites more than most other sites… as can Microsoft with Internet Explorer).

Sure making it Open Source gives any technically highly adept individual the possibility to take it apart and modify it, but the fact that this opportunity will be used by a very small fraction of all the people browsing the web makes it a poor excuse to give up both the browsing experience and the content to the same company.

In fact this goes even further with the announcement of the phishing/malware protection features announced in the same comic (p.33). According to the brochure:

There’s a second list of malware websites. Websites where a ton of bad things might happen to your computer, just on arrival.

When we discover malicious content, we notify the owner of a website, who usually wasn’t intending to be malicious, and they can take this information and clean up their site.

In effect, Google will thus be policing the web on our behalf and notify owners of websites hosting malicious content, so that they can clean up their site. Now, from a practical perspective, this might seem like a nice idea, after all, Google is already watching just about every step you take on-line and all the content you might be accessing, they are most likely event telling you where to go based on your Google searches. But from a political/philosophical perspective the idea of Google playing big brother on-line is not so appealing.

Blogoscoped.com is right , Google already owns most of what’s happening inside the browser, including your email on Gmail and any file you created with Google Apps and saved in Google’s on-line storage. Owning your means of accessing the web, as well as policing its content would seem to spell a little to much power for one, any, single commercial entity…

As for ‘unprecedented’ and ‘revolutionary’, most of the usability features of Chrome has already been around (in some form or other) for some time. Mozilla has the Prism project, the Tab Page is already a part of Opera, and the Incognito privacy mode has been around in Safari for years and will be part of IE8.  As for the OmniBox (that would be the extended address bar) and its auto completion features, FireFox 3 is already doing some very nice and innovative work here as well…

On the other hand, the idea of handling each tab as a separate process is a very neat architectural idea that I am sure will have great impact on performance and stability, perhaps even on security, in a good sense that is. Also, I for one totally disagree with the people claiming that it would be best to have only one single browser, for standards and compatibility. There are many ways of browsing the web, and equally many ways of digesting and organizing online information. More browsers mean more options to choose from in terms of usability, UX and features.

In short, I’m not saying I hate Google or that bringing another browser to the market is such a bad thing. However, I do think it is important to remember that Google is Just Another Profit Oriented Company, that will do what it takes to increase market share and quell their competitors.

Clever slogans like Do No Evil and punch lines like ‘whithout competition we have stagnation’ (p.37) will not change this, though it might dupe some journalists and geeks into thinking the company really is just a big and Friendly Giant…

All in all, it’s just business as usual…


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