Change for the Sake of Change
On 2/29/08, I described the difference between good and bad software this way: “good software gets better; bad software gets prettier.” The point I was aiming for was that good software evolves while bad software gets face-lifts, i.e., cosmetic changes. This was a generalization about software, but the most frequent offenders today are browsers and search engines.
The first big-time graphic browser was Mosaic, the precursor to Netscape. Then came Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE), and it soon dominated the market. But in the past two years its market share dropped from 68% to 34%—by half! One reason was IE’s poor compatibility with the International W3 Standards. Years ago, I switched to Mozilla Firefox. Last year, Firefox went bonkers, leaping from version to version to version in unprecedented fashion. I don’t update for amusement, especially when I can’t see the need.
So I decided to switch to Opera, since I had good experiences in the past and its compatibility was very highly rated. When I did, it failed miserably on the simplest of web page tasks. At a popular site, it refused to go where I clicked; in fact, a click anywhere on the page took me places I didn’t want to go.
Chrome may be a great browser for some people, but Google is far too intrusive to allow it on my machines. (Despite my resistance, they still find ways: my netbook now wants to run Google Update, something I’d thought I’d eliminated years ago.)
I’m also leery of Safari for the PC. It’s just another Apple foot in the door of my PC, and their goal is to insinuate as much Apple crapple as they can onto our PCs.
Which leaves me back at Firefox (without the upgrades). And the point of this post, which is not just about switching browsers. Every few months for the past year, I’ve also been switching search engines. Bing, as I said last week, has decided to drop time specification for its searches. At the same time Google has elevated this option, but added other unnecessary junk to its search screen.
Between browsers and search engines, what we have—to my web-weary eyes—is merely change for the sake of change. And there’s a reason. Next week you’ll learn why their goal is browsing, not searching.