Four months have passed, maybe it’s time to update the blog once more. And maybe it’s fine to resume some series neglected for too long like the one about the market of computer Web browsers. The last post on the topic dates back to 2009, and in just six years the situation changed so radically to seem like belonging to another age. And as a matter of fact we are in a completely different age, with many unknowns and a factual observation which is worth being highlighted above anything else: Firefox is a browser unavoidably doomed to oblivion, and it’s all Mozilla’s fault.
Quite often innovation brings changes that imply a drastic cut with the past. This golden rule also applies to web browsers and the new generation of Mozilla Firefox in particular, which next to the many improvements and new features leaves behind bookmarks automatic saving in HTML format at the program shutdown.
Good things need time, I wrote in July 2008. For the upgrade of my Firefox installation to the last version available it took more than a year, hence instead of release 3.0 now I have a shiny Firefox 3.5.2 on the screen, no remorse for the switch, some little lack of intimacy with the minimal behavioural differences of the browser UI and so much relief for the end of an installation, test and refining operation that stole me an entire weekend and this past Monday morning.
After more than two months since the Chrome launch, the made-by-Google browser that should have revolutionized the whole market and the Internet perception itself among the users, the nowadays scenario is very much different from what the events anticipated then. Not only Chrome hasn’t been able to take a significant amount of netizens, but even its undoubted performance leadership will soon be called into question by the new releases from the competitors.
One of undoubted benefits of open source software is its incredible adaptability to usage modes pretty different from the ones originally expected by the developers. If, in that regard, it’s ok to the majority of the users to permanently install the Mozilla Firefox browser on the system, the “transportable” version developed for the PortableApps.com suite can be exploited by whom have the need to use a testing environment at no cost for the Windows Registry or to compare the last build of the Mozilla code with the one currently installed on the PC.
With the characteristic effect of a bolt from the blue, at the beginning of this week Mountain View has released the beta version of its browser, Google Chrome, joining the super-competitive market of software interfaces toward the possibilities of net economy and information society. Everybody talk about it, everybody express their own thoughts on the matter, but still no one has had the heart to define the event with its due name: Chrome, there’s no much to do about that, marks the beginning of a new browser war in a time in which the said browsers are the main framework of business and access to digital heritage of interconnected mankind.
Gone by the mass hysteria of the launch period of new version of the Mozilla browser, the world record of the 8 millions of downloads in a single day (8,002,530, to be accurate) and the growing number of the above said downloads that stands still to camp as a trophy on the Spread Firefox homepage, I think it would be perhaps useful to calm down and reason on why maybe it’s the case, for who makes use of the web not only because it’s “cool” and chic, to wait and ponder before enthusiastically embracing the third main release of the red panda browser.