I should have put this in my calendar so that I didn’t have to rely on external sources to remind me…
So, where were you when it was announced?
I remember, for sure. I was working in a heavy Microsoft environment and so we had to use Internet Explorer. Some of what worked on the intranet would only work with that browser. On a personal level, I hated IE; my personal browser of choice was Firefox. I had upgraded from Lynx, Mosaic, and Netscape over a period of time. I thought I knew what a browser should do – boy was I wrong.
The time was interesting; we were just beginning to wrap our heads around security and web browsing. At the time, cookies were just about the worst things in the world. But, your browser worked so well with a website that used cookies for good things.
Both Internet Explorer and Firefox seemed like state of the art. I had played around with Opera at the time but it seemed so complicated for the simple things that I needed to do. Then, Chrome came along.
It seemed like a toy. It seemed so simplistic. How could it do the things that I’d come to rely on with Internet Explorer or Firefox? And yet, it was oddly intriguing. It was seemingly so fast. The other noticeable thing was that there weren’t menus and sub-menus everywhere. I never actually measured it, but there just seemed to be more room on the screen to display web content and yet, the browser itself didn’t look as polished as others. There wasn’t the customary three dimensional effects everywhere but once I started to look around and explore, I could understand the why and the how behind the design philosophy.
The big thing for me, being a die-hard Firefox fan, was the inclusion of Extensions. I can’t remember how many times I complained about this or that with a browser only to find a solution by way of an extension. I can remember working in front of an IT Diehard who was amazed that you could add functionality to a browser in this way! Now, every computer conference has at least once session devoted to sharing the best collection of extensions. (at least from the presenter’s perspective)
That includes your favourite colours!
Now, I can’t imagine a browser without extra functionality customized just for me! I’ve become more guarded with my information with a password manager; can tuck away resources or share them with a click (or right click) and even block advertising which I always thought was interesting for a product from Google.
It showed everyone that open source could actually work in a big way. From the Chromium project, things emerge. The current Blink engine has been great for browsers like Opera and Vivaldi to name a couple. The design and presentation has made changes to Firefox and Internet Explorer is but a memory. You could easily be excused for mistaking Edge for Chrome at a cursory look. If there’s a complaint, it’s that so many browsers are all starting to look similar. Clean and neat. We have Chrome to
blame thank for that.
Turning back to the beginning, who would have thought that the browser would have such an honoured place on a cell phone or tablet? These days, they’re next to useless without one. There used to be “an app for that” but Progressive Web Applications is changing all that. Plus, Chrome keeps itself updated without you having to stop everything to download a new version. Wouldn’t it be nice if all applications did that?
It’s been a great run. If you’re a browser lover, you know that there will be a big announcement this week about Google Chrome’s re-design. Will this change the game for everyone again? I hope so.
When we have developers competing for your loyalty, we all win. Firefox has already announced an upgrade in privacy features; Vivaldi lets you configure darn near everything; Opera has a built-in VPN and ad blocker.
What’s not to like?
So, a Happy Labour Day and belated Happy Birthday.