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Pawel Brodzinski on Software Project Management

Google Chrome and Rules of Software Business

One of readers of Software Project Management, Travis, left a comment under my last entry about rules in software development business. He states:

In my opinion, there are no rules in software development. I think a good example is Google Chrome. This application doesn’t follow all the requirements of a web browser. Google decided to invent a new tool to browse the web, period. The menus are different, there are no add-ons, no this, no that. Google didn’t follow the rules and so far, Chrome is doing great.

Actually Google Chrome is a great example of what I was trying to point. Browser business. Is it new? By all means no. Are there any common rules everyone follows? Hell yes. Does Chrome change the way we use browser? Are there any ground-breaking features? Is Google browser revolutionary? Sorry Travis, but no, no and no.

Our routes with Chrome are the same as with other browsers. We still click links and use tabs. Web is all about content, not about browser. Browser is just a tool which we expect to get out of our way. What a pity not every page works well in Chrome by the way. Either way it’s just a glitch which will be fixed by Google or, more likely, by website developers. I still don’t see anything revolutionary here.

Ah yes, it was intended as a lightning fast browser or at least significantly faster than competitors. I admit I didn’t do any benchmark tests to say for sure but I don’t see significant difference. I believe there is, but not at the level I would care about. And when talking about a real pain in the ass, which is resource consumption, Chrome doesn’t really rock. It eats roughly as much RAM as competitors. You just get a bit more control since every tab is run in different process, so closing the tab should immediately return resources to the pool.

What’s next? GUI is the most visible thing. But it all comes down to well… GUI design. Just look and feel. I agree it is better (less cluttered) and nicer (a very subjective thing) than both Internet Explorer and Firefox but is that a revolution? It’s just another skin for old well-know tool.

Chrome is an example of playing by the rules. But talking about Google it’s much easier for them to ignore rules even if they’re already set. The reason is simple – no matter how crappy service Google would provide there would be thousands and thousands of users which, in many cases, creates enough mass to start changing people behaviors. Now if the product happens to be good enough to make people stick with it behavior-changing process will gain velocity and market along with its rules will change.

If you aren’t lucky enough to be Google A.D. 2009 chances are good you won’t gather crowd big enough to make a change. That’s why, in vast majority of cases, playing by the rules is more reasonable choice.

in: software business

2 comments… add one

  • Piotr Leszczyński June 4, 2009, 1:36 pm

    I know that this post is not about which Web Browser is the best and personally i think there isn't any – it's all matter of choice. However I've noticed one significant problem with Chrome. I tried to use it on my netbook, which has very limited hard disk space. Chrome is installing for every user in his/hers personal directory. What a pity… I had to switch to Opera :)

  • Pawel Brodzinski June 5, 2009, 7:47 am

    Yet another proof that developers don't care for end-user resources. I didn't know that one but I'm not surprised.

    Talking about problems I terminated my test with Chrome because from time to time it failed at its main task – web browsing. The rest I could live with.

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