I have just spent the last hour having a chat with some people at Microsoft about Internet Explorer 8 (using Tangler).
Whilst I first tried IE8 over a year ago, I have been a pretty solid Firefox user since then; Firefox wasn’t a deliberate choice, just something I floated into over time.
I’m not too sure why I was invited along to the chat (everyone there was far more technical than me), but it did force me to think about web browsers. My conclusion:
IE 8 is full of bells and whistles, and whilst the technorati may make use of them, does the average user? Are they actually becoming a hindrance to the average user? Not only slowing down the program, but adding confusion to the browsing experience.
I think it is time to move beyond the one browser fits all model. At a minimum I would like to see Microsoft develop two browsers: IE Simple, and IE Professional. But what I would really like to see is a bespoke browser. You go to the Microsoft site, select the browser features you want included, and it compiles the IE browser for you.
Microsoft have just released version 2.0 of their Live API. The good news is that this time you can send unlimited queries, the bad news is there is still no sign of the return of ‘linkdomain’.
nb. In case you are one of those people who use search engines without any thought of the APIs they offer, ‘BOSS’ in the title of this post is a reference to Yahoo’s Build your Own Search Service.
It is always a bit of a chore to catch up on RSS feeds after a couple of days away, but the release of Chrome has taken the blogosphere by storm in a way I have never seen before.
Whilst Blogpulse shows that 1.5% of all blog posts were about Chrome, it was probably nearer 25% of all the posts in my RSS reader. Even the most irregular of bloggers were compelled to post an opinion. So, is Chrome any good, and how quickly will it grab market share?
Chrome is amazingly quick, the bloggers are impressed, the press have decided not to take the ‘porn’ browser line they did with Internet Explorer 8 – Beta 2, and it’s promoted on the Google homepage. Whilst it has been suggested that Chrome will take 15-20% of the browser market within 2yrs, I expect to see it grow faster than that.
Not only will Chrome quickly gain market share, they will be getting it primarily from Microsoft, not Firefox. Without extentions the Firefox geeks are unlikely to be swayed in the long term, whilst the simplicity and speed will quickly appeal to the average user. From Microsoft’s point of view, it will give Google access to sort of data that they wanted to leverage with their BrowseRank.
Verdict: Unless Microsoft produce something amazingly innovative in the next couple of years, Google will own the web within 10 years.
Search Engine Land posts about Microsoft’s new ranking algorithm, BrowseRank, based on user browsing behaviour rather than web links. Whilst it seems reasonable to presume that BrowseRank will produce better results than PageRank, the question is whether people will willingly/knowingly share their browsing data, and if they do, which search engine they would choose to share their data with. Whilst Microsoft may not have been a particularly trusted brand in the past, they do seem to be putting the past behind them.
Before advertising a new feature it is always best to check that it works: xRank has added a musicians list to its celebrity list. However, unless I am very much mistaken, the two lists are exactly the same (nb. you can click on the pics to see them more clearly):
May I take this opportunity to congratulate Daniel Day Lewis on his new single.
Hot on the heels of the BBC’s Sound Index, Microsoft have announced the launch of xRank, a ranking of celebrities by search volume. Whilst there were a few negative comments about the sort of music that made it to the top of the Sound Index, the mere existence of xRank is a damning indictment of society. Whilst it has a certain curiosity value the first time, what sort of person will regularly return? Maybe just the celebrities and their stalkers.
The good news is that, unlike the decidedly flawed Sound Index, Cliff Richard is in the xRank index: currently at 97 after a sudden fall of 54 places.
Microsoft are making a number of software products free to students: Visual Studio, Expression Studio,XNA Game Studio 2.0, and Windows Server 2003. You currently need to be a student in either Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK or the US.
This is a winning move for both students and Microsoft. Microsoft creates great software, but it is often out of the price range of many students. This move will prevent the students moving to less user-friendly open source equivalents whilst hopefully getting them hooked on Microsoft products for life.
Personally I wondered how much an effect a Yahoo-Microsoft merger would have on the Google train, but Google’s blog reaction seems to suggest they are definately worried and are going to try and play on consumers’ lingering anti-Microsoft feelings. Although I wonder whether Google should really be playing the anti-monopoly card? Definate case of glass houses.
I have not had a chance to check out the blogosphere today, but I am guessing that there is only one big story, Microsoft’s offer of $44.6bn in cash and shares for Yahoo. Whilst the rumour has been spreading for a while that either Google or Microsoft would buy out Yahoo, it is still a shock to read that the offer has been made. Personally I would like to see Yahoo compete successfully as an independent company, but if it has to be bought I would rather see it bought by Microsoft than Google.
Google is too powerful a web presense, especially in the realm of search. Having a single organisation that provides access to all the information on the web doesn’t really bare thinking about, but that is the situation we seem to be (sleep)walking towards. Surely we have passed the point where Google’s success in web search has meant that it has broken its “do no evil” philosophy.
This is the wake-up call that we need to start breaking the Google addiction. Personally I will be heading to Ask.com for my searching…as long as I remember.