Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Just Browsing

How much of a geek are you ? A good rule of thumb is to look at your attitude to web browsers.

Class Zero Geeks (a.k.a dumb people) don't even know what one is - which probably means that they aren't reading this page and won't be insulted by me calling them "dumb people".

Class One Geeks (a.k.a Civilians) are still using the web browser that was installed when they got the machine - usually the small blue "e" of Internet Explorer.

Class Two Geeks (a.k.a "The Slightly Geeky") have played around with the competitor web browsers, either out of pure curiousity or because Internet Explorer is driving them mad with all the crashing, advertising spam and unexpected behaviour.

Class Three Geeks (a.k.a "Me") don't even know how many web browsers they have on their various machines. I would put myself in this category - as well as IE, Firefox and Safari I've got an old copy of Netscape on the main PC, on my mobile phone I've got Opera and on my Linux box ... well, there's SeaMonkey, Konqueror, Dillo .. er and a few dozen others I've never used.

Added to this list now is Google's Chrome browser which I've been trying out and,in brief, I don't get it.

It's quite similar to Firefox, except without its infinite customisability. It has an equivalent of Safari's "Private Browsing" called "Incognito Windows". It's supposed to fast, but I couldn't prove it was any faster than Safari, which is the fastest of the mainstream browsers. This is not a surprise as under the bonnet, the same WebKit HTML-rendering engine is being used by both.

I looked at their marketing literature and I test drove it myself and nowhere could I find a valid reason to make it my browser of choice. Presumably Google will be demonstrating how Chrome adds value to their suite of office applications and Google Earth in due course, but personally I'd say the responsibility was with the application developer to ensure their application runs well on any browser, rather than forcing us to use a particular browser.

By the way, just in case you think I'm one of the geekiest person in the world, there is a Class Four of Geeks, who despise and distrust all browsers and have either written their own in Assembler Code or are still using slide-rule technologies like Gopher. You're not likely to meet these people, as they don't tend to have friends and tend not to get out much.

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