So Google released it’s new browser today…. I’m sitting only a few miles away from the ‘plex so it seemed somehow appropriate to comment on the launch. My thoughts….

Who cares?

Honestly I can say that the browser, much like the operating system, is meaningless for me. Sure I like Apple’s but that’s more a hardware and usability issue than OS. Similarly I installed Chrome and launched it um – yeah whatever – my websites still look the same.

For a more in depth analysis link here – as usual Bob sums it up best.

I couldn’t resist taking this screenshot though – especially since there have been some comments from Xero evangelists about how lame MYOB’s on-demand product is only supporting Internet Explorer – this is what I got when I tried to log into Xero this morning…

no go xero

Sorry Rod but I just couldn’t resist

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

11 Comments
  • I’m surprised Xero doesn’t let you in at all if you’re not using a browser they have specified.

    Why not let the user use another browser, as long as you’re building your site to be w3c compliant it doesn’t matter all that much which of the browsers (other than IE) you use.

    They pre-load in a lot of their common javascript so I assume this is why they are restricting access from other browsers.

  • It is a defensive movement. Browser becoming a commodity, that is what Google wants – so the browser won’t drive the navigation of the user

  • @ben – I don’t see your point. Xero is merely saying it supports 1 of 2 browsers. Presumably you were using something else.

    On Chrome, most people have got this hideously wrong. It’s not about the browser but about apps. Ergo, Chrome is an OS for the web that has an interface we refer to as a browser.

  • yes, googles strategy is to make the OS redundant for a big chunk of the population. They’re trying to relegate windows to a piece of software whose only function is to start up chrome. A chrome boot-strapper if you will.

    And then people will write hideously small linux kernals that pretty much do only that, and it will be free, and running on $200 laptops/PDAs/cellphones and everyone will live in the cloud.

    Think this might be a “Woh shit” moment for Steve Ballmer…

  • Actually, there is another problem with that error page from Xero – where’s Safari???

  • @Dennis

    1) Xero and some of its evangelists have been critical of MYOB BBO for not being accessible with browsers other than IE – my point was simply that for whatever reason they’re now in the same situation with their own offering.

    And yes it’s about the apps not about the browser – which is why I can’t understand Google doing Chrome – why not just make Firefox work well with Webapps seeing they fund it anyway

  • @Cary – good point, cheers!

  • Well, they do point out the principal problem, in that current browsers are single threaded (more or less). To shift to a multi-thread model would be a pretty significant re-write of firefox, and to shift to a multi-process model (chrome), they might as well start again, particularly with the security model and the new javascript engine.

    I think this is much more significant than “another browser”. This is google saying, we think the OS is dead. Its about the cloud now. Theyve got a lot of work to get people to change, but with my experiences with IE/firefox, I’ll give it a go!

  • Hey guys – we just needed 5 mins to give it a once over before we let everyone at it:

    http://blog.xero.com/2008/09/xero-on-chrome/

    Just to clarify we do also allow Firefox, IE6, IE7 and Safari 3 which collectively accounts for almost the entire browser market. Thanks for the heads-up on the error page though: we’ve added Safari in there now.

  • @Ben – if it was as simple as that then it would have been done. Optimizing applications for the web is a very big deal. There’s a huge amount of engineering work involved. If they’re removing a lot of that pain then great. But – the payback is a big question mark over data ownership and what Google is actually doing with the data that passes through its cloud. It’s T’s & C’s are screwy. Even so, I don’t see any serious business going for this any time soon. What’s interesting right now is they seem to have problems with Java based applications. That’s just plain weird.

  • @Dennis – you’re wrong if you’re talking about Xero and Chrome – it was that simple. Optimizing an app for the web is hard – taking an existing webapp and making it work on another browser shouldn’t be – witnessed by the fact that Xero just did it a few hours after my post.

    Similarly – MYOB BBO does work on Firefox – it just says it doesn’t – it’s more of a communication issue than an engineering one

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