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?

So, Firefox needs to add functionality that makes the surfing experience better for all users when more users use Firefox.

Seth Godin

I’ve been thinking a lot about what the browser could look like in 5 years. I’ll write up my thoughts later tonight or tomorrow.

3g iPhone is no longer in beta

Even though I’ve been happy with my 3g iphone it often feels like we’ve been beta testers since it came out. Apps crashed, flakey 3g connectivity, unusable address book search & frequently a sluggish keyboard. We’ve all been dealing with it.

But a day into the latest 2.1 release and I don’t feel like i’ve got a beta phone anymore.

This thing now works as it should. And I’m happy about that.

Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God’s plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin’s view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, “It was a task from God.”

Random Friday thoughts

This is starting to become a regular weekly thing on this blog. Random friday thoughts.

But I’m sitting in the waiting room because my doctor is running late.

So I thought it would be good jot a few things down…

0. Friends are asking me if I like my Flip mino. That one is easy. Absolutely. It’s not HD of course but it’s easy, small and video works just fine for me. And we take it everywhere. I will do a detailed product review at some point if people want that.

1. I didn’t like the Blackberry Bold. One of my biggest gripes was the size. In my post I said RIM should have updated the Curve with the new materials and design instead of this sherman tank thing. It looks like they are doing that and its called the Javelin. Hmmm. Very interesting.

2. I have tried to put into words my feeling about the Palin choice and haven’t done a great job. This piece by Eve Ensler says it all. I encourage you to read it. And then read it again. And then forward it to all of your friends that are undecided or who have given up on voting. We need them!

3. I have high hopes for the iphone sw update later today.

4. Hodgman wins the funniest tweet of the week.

What are you going to be when you grow up?

I don’t know about you, but I really had no idea how to answer this question growing up. People start asking this question early on (my kids are already hearing it) and you continue hearing it into high school and throughout college if you end up going that route.

In high school I simply didn’t know what the choices were. I knew what my parents did (they both have the same professions). I kind’ve knew what my close friends parents did. I was thinking that there were probably 5-10 different careers I could figure out at some point.

The rule in our house growing up was this: study as hard as you can and you’ll figure it all out when the time is right.

By the end of college I guess you are supposed to have something in mind that synthesizes your passions and goals. Or maybe it’s simply just to earn a buck until you figure out what the heck you are going to do.

How do we expose kids to different options?

Last year, my daughter’s 3rd grade teacher asked the parents to come in and tell the kids what we do for a living. That was a lot of fun and interesting. And its a start.

How do we do the same or something better for high school students. How do we help them pick the best college. How do we help college students? With respect, I dont’ think the Career Planning office at BC helped me that much. (I hope Charlie & Path101 plays a role.)

That’s why this story is so interesting to me. It’s the story of the founder of MacRumors. He was a medical doctor and gave it up to follow his passion and his startup – MacRumors.com

My brother is a medical doctor too. And really busy between his work and family life. But he carves out time to pursue his passion. Photography. He’s created & cares for two websites. SeriousCompacts and CameraRumors.com. He didn’t learn about blogging, websites, photography in high school or college and certainly not in medical school.

My profession is a blend of the things I love to do. But I had no idea what venture capital was about growing up. I didn’t even know what it was in college.

Things are changing though. Thats for sure.

Kids & students today are born on the Internet. They are getting exposed to all sorts of interests and career possibilities. I discovered the other day that a 16 year high school student reblogged my Blackberry Bold post. I don’t know what he wants to do when he gets older but I’m guessing he’s thinking about more things that I did when I was his age.

I’m a few months away from turning 40.

And I’m still learning how to answer this question.