The Gold in Chrome

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You just know that something massive has hit the technology arena if two of your dear colleagues of the CTO Blog and the Technology Blog have already posted on the subject, while you are still preparing. All on the same day. And Google’s announcement of the Chrome browser – if we should still call it […]

You just know that something massive has hit the technology arena if two of your dear colleagues of the CTO Blog and the Technology Blog have already posted on the subject, while you are still preparing. All on the same day. And Google’s announcement of the Chrome browser – if we should still call it a browser – is definitely massive. What can I add to the observations of Carl and Rick?
Well, just a few remarks. First of all, clearly platforms like Chrome prove the point of the end of the desktop operating system. And yes, if the browser becomes the unified entry point to applications, its capabilities in terms of application support may as well be re-assessed. Obviously, Rich Internet plug-ins such as Microsoft’s Silverlight and Adobe’s Flex already provide a lot of the features we need to build serious, attractive business applications. But now seems indeed a good time to sit back, have a look at that container that we call a ‘browser’ (as in ‘browsing content on the Internet’, the way it started) and see how we can reincarnate it as something better, more focussed.
Secondly, I like Google’s approach to explaining the rationale behind Chrome with cartoons. It is difficult enough to communicate new solutions to business people, and here we have a light-weight, accessible medium that may do the job neatly, reaching out to techies, their business victims and the like. It certainly beats yet another meandering white paper.
Finally, you just have to love the way that Google have developed their new open source software product. Automatically testing intermediate builds just minutes after their release on tens of thousands of different pages, is definitely a case of catching problems early. Read the cartoons, and you will understand. As open source guru Eric Raymond once stated: “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”. Guess Google now added something like “o, and a really, really massive test bed won’t hurt either”. To me, that is the real Gold in Chrome.

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