Thursday, September 4, 2008

Browser Wars :)

It looks like with the new release of Chrome we have a new set of browser wars to contend with. These kind of excite me and scare me at the same time. It's great to see competition, nothing will push someone like Microsoft to do something more than to see their turf being walked on. I've heard people say Chrome is better than other browsers, I'm not sure about that, I'm sure it's better in some areas and worse in others. We also had a release of Firefox, the upgrade to Firefox was simple enough (I was impressed with how it kept my current session state when I upgraded), and now we have rumors of MSIE 8.0 coming out soon. Again it's great to see competition, but I'm wary of rocky times ahead.

Compatibility Issues

What's going to most likely happen is that each of the developers of major browsers
  1. MSIE
  2. Firefox
  3. Safari
  4. Chrome
will have interpreted the standards differently (either by accident or on purpose), this difference will cause fits for developers I'm sure. In the end the developers will need to code to the least common denominator within each browser and develop pages that need to be overly simplified. In the old days between Netscape and MSIE this posed huge issue, since Netscape wasn't as robust in it's language as MSIE. The two also had different interpretations of the HTML code itself, which required you to shove browser sniffing javascript to tell you what to show to the browser (major hack).

I guess the question that needs to be figured out is will any of the changes implemented actually be usable given the incompatibility questions. I think the answer is yes over time.

Chrome Privacy Mode

This is the mode that all cheating spouses and kids wanted. It allows you to go online and not collect any cookies or leave any digital finger prints behind as to what you are doing. Of course this is pushed as a privacy addition to keep third parties from tracking your path, but if that's the case why not just build that into the browser directly? With Chrome it pops up a new window with a sneaky little spy in the corner. This is cute, I just wonder how much it will preserve your privacy? I mean unless you start going through a proxy server then the server you hit will have your IP address and be able to gain some information about you from that (My iTouch can get pretty close to the location of my house via my IP address). Of course Google and others really want you to go through a proxy server, that way they have ALL your information for their own uses. People look at Microsoft as being big and evil, I'm looking at Google as being the scary person on the block, they are gathering tons of information about people, from searching, browsing and email, it's scary actually. The information has supposedly been scrubbed for PII (Personally Identifiable Information), but it's still out there.
Also keep in mind that any website you visit will still keep complete logs on you, if you login, then privacy mode is no longer valid, since they have all your information stored on their servers anyway.
I've strayed some from my path haven't I? Overall I think tools like Chrome are great, but I'm concerned about compatibility issues and if these battles will cause greater heartache on both the consumer and the developer. No doubt in my mind that Chrome will become the darling of many peoples eyes, if for no other reason than it's a tool developed by Google.

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