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Thinking about the browser

FireFox has been my default browser for a long time. Fellow Mac users can remember just how bad life was when we had to use IE for the Mac. It’s was like we were second class web citizens and basically a complete after thought when it came to the web.

Then we got Safari which brought speed and a great look & feel.

Yet FF remained my default browser all this time.

When Google launched Chrome there were avid supporters and plenty naysayers. The supporters give Google credit for doing something more ambitious than just another browser. The naysayers had their doubts and worries. Time will tell if Google can fullfill their Chrome vision or not.

In the meantime, what do we want from our browser?

Here’s a bunch of random thoughts about the future of the browser

-All browsers should be open source. maybe that is shy way of asking for the OS to go open source. but seems to me that this just needs to happen.

-I’ve been wondering if Google should have proxy servers for Chrome users or not. Pros’s and con’s there. Proxy servers is how/why the Danger web experience works the way it does. More stuff in the cloud making the device smaller and simpler is a good formula.

-we need better online and offline sync. storiage is only going to grow in our devices. we gotta use it better as a friend to the cloud.

-I like Seth Godins point about the how the browser should get better as more of us use it. That is a very powerful notion. It’s the same notion that powers Me.dium Search. As more of us use the Me.dium FF extension it will make their search engine better and better.

-I don’t want my browser to become cluttered my various social net profile data. We need a better system for having the browser learn about me.

-anyone have stats of the Firefox extensions downloads and developers vs iphone app downloads & developers?

-here’s a funny thing about the iphone browser. My favorite web services on the iphone are actually custom apps and iphone optimized sites. Browsing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile just dont’ work great. Doesn’t matter which browser you use. Try this site on an iphone. Point it to www.bijansabet.com vs bijansabet.com/mobile. Big difference. And the iphone browser is the gold standard right now.

-Where will the best mobile browser come from in 5 years? Microsoft, Apple, Google, Firefox or some startup. I’m guessing it will come from a startup.

-Completele customization. e.g. I want to be able to take the nytimes.com and move stuff around. Cross out articles, markup articles, draw on things, save things to the cloud, rearrange items, etc.

-somehow commerce & payments needs to be swifter, simpler and faster. I use PayPal but it feels stuck. Bank Of America’s online banking service is a clunker.are we going to get frictionless mobile payments in 5 years that works everywhere?

-this cnet article from 2003 is interesting to me. basically they wrote off the browser years ago. That was the time when MSFT “won” the browser war. How about this quote from the article:

“The message is that the Web browser isn’t designed for applications; it’s designed for documents,” said Kevin Lynch, Macromedia’s chief software architect. “I think developers have done an amazing job of stretching what the browser is capable of doing. But we think there’s a need for an environment specifically designed for hosting applications.”

A lot has changed over the past 5 years.

What are the next 5 years going to look like?