the Web will always be in your Browser

May 12th, 2009  |  Published in Commentary

This is a reply to Rod Edwards @ TechFold.

As Adobe and MSFT try to improve on the UI and UX with their “parallel web” ideas, Mozilla and more importantly Google are bundling the remaining features into the native browser experience (Prism, Gears).

As soon as Chrome reaches a market share of 10 %, they’ll integrate location awareness and similar hardware bindings (e.g. O3D) natively (opt-in, where applicable), thus making the advantages of AIR, JavaFX and even the iPhone SDK nonexistent from a feature-set perspective.

Combined with App Engine and the Chrome plugin structures, they might be able to pull off the web app marketplace: paid or adsense-integrated “browser apps” that will run on your desktop and mobile. The difference is only in the presentation layer.

While it makes sense for the NYT to have a standalone app to create information vendor lock-in, such a strategy (akin to the Kindle) will only survive in the short run. As all information is moving onto the internet, the real value is in linkage, context and ambiance, all of which are duplicate features or non-central issues in a standalone app like this.

The overall user experience from start to finish is the remaining issue to solve:

From my point of view, installing a desktop app (after signing up for yet another user account) to read the news sounds to me  almost like waiting for the print edition and reading it on paper.

And we know what is happening to those cases.


Disclaimer: I’m a believer in SaaS, the Cloud, UXaaS and the Open Stack.

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