I’ve read Nicholas Nethercote’s blog for a while, and his recent post “Firefox 6 will be released in seven weeks” got me thinking. I generally use Google Chrome, and keep Firefox as a backup when I need to do something in another browser, often during web development.
Google Chrome automatically updates itself. As a user you’re only aware it’s updated because things change. Generally the UI doesn’t change much – it’s so minimal that you wouldn’t expect it to. In the time I’ve been using it my browser has magically gained support for any number of web standards and I’ve never had to care. I’ve never had to click through a dialog asking me if I want to update, I’ve never had to update plugins for compatibility with a new version, and I’ve never been subjected to a “Firefox has been updated” home page.
This is huge for me. Why? Because I don’t want to be distracted.
When I open an application I generally have something in mind “I need to check that web page and see if anyone has replied to my question”, “time to check my email”, “I would like to look at pictures of badgers behaving badly”. When an application decides to bombard me with popups, it’s all too easy to forget the reason I opened it.
When I first learnt that Chrome was updating itself I worried that it would update to a version I didn’t like or that didn’t work properly. I preferred to manually update my browser, with the option to keep an old copy around “just in case”. Then I learnt to relax, and I stopped having to care. I hope more applications copy Chrome so that I can stop caring about them as well.
… and we’ve come full circle to the video. Hurray!