All about Google Chrome & Google Chrome OS

01 Nov 11 The Fickle Fate of Firefox

In various geek circles, most of the smart money has turned away from Firefox and toward the Chrome browser. I must admit that I’m getting a little tired of Firefox since it now handles files on my main Vista writing machine poorly—or at least version 3.6.23 handles them poorly. The details are boring but let’s just say there are idiosyncrasies that force me to use Chrome in too many instances.

Over the past year, all I’ve been hearing about is Chrome this and Chrome that. It renders better. It’s faster. It’s slicker. Now people look at me like I’m crazy if I tell them that I’m using Firefox. I’m like one of those guys still using Yahoo! as a search engine in the early days when people were moving to Google. What a bonehead.

So I suppose I’ll be moving, despite my long appreciation of Firefox.

The overall story says something about open source. Firefox was more of an open source project than Chrome or Safari, which both take open source systems, namely WebKit and Webcore, and package them as elaborate browsers. A confused mess of developers and differing licensing arrangements are less straight forward than the Mozilla product, I think.

Whatever the case, instead of a non-profit foundation devoted to the open source principles, we have a large company, Google, re-introducing the idea of a proprietary property distributed by Google to benefit Google and promoted by the Google search engine. In addition, the browser is more likely to be tracking your online activity, which will be stored at Google by Google at the behest of the government-media-advertising complex.

And, yes, I know there are settings to minimize invasion of privacy, but the basic philosophy at Google is not privacy protection. It’s just not. In fact, if I were to summarize its attitude about privacy I’d say the company doesn’t care a bit about it.

This is a Silicon Valley trait more than anything thoughtful. It’s part of the “privacy is dead, get over it” ethos propagated by Sun Microsystems’ Scott McNealy and other CEOs in the area. But I digress. I’m sure I can lock down the browser by spending a couple of minutes on these concerns.

But will I switch? I guess I will have to, but not before I reintroduce an older idea that faded from neglect: the 100 percent customizable, do-it-yourself browser. I’d field a team and create this myself if I were in my 20s.

I want a browser kit that would give me various designs and layouts, customizable to an extreme. I personally find the layout of the modern browser to be dumb. Someone needs to make a WYSIWYG browser design tool. You should be able to also add and tweak various rendering engines and other mechanisms.

This sort of thing could easily be used to create unique modules that could pose and run as stand-alone apps, which seems to be the future of computing, anyway.

Until then, we will have the remnants of the browser wars and the current favorite is apparently Chrome. Importing bookmarks and favorites…now.

More John C. Dvorak:
•   The Fickle Fate of Firefox
•   Microsoft’s Negativity Hampers Nokia
•   Sony-Ericsson, Lest We Forget
•   “Flawed” Google Browser to Dominate
•   An Apple TV Under the Christmas Tree?
•  more

Go off-topic with John C. Dvorak.

Article source:,2817,2395603,00.asp

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