Google to Mac users: Eat the crumbs we throw you

I’ll be interested to see how well Chrome does among Mac users.

You mean there’s finally a real Chrome browser available for Mac? Oh, wait, no, there’s not. Just the same old tired beta, even though it left beta on Windows ages ago.

Google’s taken so long to deliver a Mac version I assumed they’d outsourced the job to Adobe. No need; I guess when it comes to Mac software they’re the new Adobe.

Does Chrome install on the Mac with that insidious Google “updater” always running in the background? You know, the one that even if you hunt it down and kill it, it just reinstalls itself the next time you run the Google app? It’s just one reason the Mac version of Picasa (beta, of course) was blown from my Mac, with no Google software to return.

I’ll never understand why so many Mac users are eager to eat scraps off the floor that fell from a developer’s Windows table. Not me. No thanks, Google. Take your cheesy product to Linux, I’m not interested.

Opera Mini for iPhone

Opera Mini uses the company’s own browser engine rather than WebKit, which is used by Safari. This results in many pages not rendering properly, or not in the original page’s standard fonts.

So it’s here, much to the chagrin of pundits who had probably already written articles railing against Apple blocking it from the App Store.

In any case, it’s here, and… big deal.

Honestly, if I still had my original iPhone I’d probably use this a lot when on EDGE. But for WiFi and 3G, the ugly rendering and security issues (everything is proxied through Opera’s servers, and there’s no SSL support) are not enough to me to compensate for the speed advantage.

Should Opera Mini be approved for the iPhone?

Apple gets dinged for not delivering the full Internet by excluding Flash, and yet I bet the very same Apple anti-fans won’t say a word about Opera not even trying.

Great article detailing why Opera Mini should not be approved for the App Store. It’s a good read, based on numerous technical/privacy/compliance factors, not just one or two philosophical points.

I also suggest you read this great post in the comments section.

Whether you agree with the various points made (I do), or whether those points should be reason for Apple to reject the app (I’m less convinced about that), it’s an important discussion.

The bottom line is that Opera Mini — Opera PR notwithstanding — is not a web browser in the sense we normally use the term. It does not render pages, but rather runs them through a proxy that involves many important “side effects”. A little education about that for a mass market (i.e. not geek-driven) device like the iPhone is a good idea.

Dear EU: Can We Be Done With The Windows 7 and IE Nonsense Now?

IE_EU

I believe Microsoft got away with a lot of monopoly abuse in their history, but trying to make up for it now makes no sense. Partially because no one’s that scared of Microsoft any more; they’re late to all the cool stuff going on, and IE share is dropping all on its own.

Still, I think because Microsoft is easier to pick on now some groups are trying to score points by doing just that.

The EU and their get-IE-out-of-Windows kick — fueled by Google, Mozilla, and Opera (Opera?!) — is just silly. Microsoft was able to show how silly it was by saying “OK, we won’t include a browser in Windows 7 for Europe”. Then some of the big brains doing the bitching wondered how, without a browser, the user would get an alternative. Duh.

Anyway, it didn’t take a genius to see that having no browser would severely impact the user, so Microsoft came around to submitting a new proposal to the EU:

Under our new proposal, among other things, European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a ‘ballot screen’ from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web.

This is as reasonable as the EU (and Microsoft rivals) can hope for. Naturally, the EU commission won’t agree to it right away, so all we get at this time is “The Commission has no further comment at this stage.” Yeah, whatever. Take the obvious concession and move on to something actually worthwhile. Does anyone else think the EU is making too much of IE?

Opera Unite: Has Opera Reinvented The Web?

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Opera Labs has introduced the service they were claiming will “re-invent the web”.  It’s called Unite, and I’m not so sure this is going to be the great step forward they think it is.

Essentially, Unite puts a web server in the web browser. When you’re running Opera, you not only have a client at your fingertips, but also a server capable of sharing your files with other Opera users (and presumably other browsers).

Right out of the gate, I’m a little confused. Was sharing files with friends/family an issue people were having problems with? Free blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc. all make it easy to share data with people. And this doesn’t even get into services like Google Docs or Facebook. Who the heck is not sharing because they can’t do it via their own “server”? And don’t the current services handle things like storage and backup for you, tasks you might not want to take on yourself? In others words, has Opera just solved a problem that no one is having?

The Opera introduction reads like a manifesto at times:

Social networking is important, but who owns it — the online real estate and all the content we share on it? How much control over our words, photos, and identities are we giving up by using someone else’s site for our personal information? How dependent have we become?

I’m not sure if they think we want to manage our own servers just to share files, or if they’re trying to scare us into thinking Flickr, for example, is a black hole into which our precious photos may be lost forever. I don’t deny privacy, reliability, etc. are big concerns with any social network, but they’d be no less so if you took on the tasks yourself.

Ultimately, Opera Unite is a platform for which they need developers to build out tools and services beyond the simple items Opera provides:

The first few services we’ve released for Opera Unite are fairly simple and offer functionality that you’ve likely seen elsewhere, perhaps on desktop applications or 3rd party web sites. These first few demos are meant to illustrate how Opera Unite services are put together and the basics behind the new technology.

If you’re a developer why would you go there? Mobile is the hot market right now. Not just the iPhone, but Palm’s WebOS and Google’s Android are likely to provide a relatively better return on your investment.

From a browser perspective, Webkit’s the hot engine, fueling Safari and Chrome with support for HTML 5, which is pushed heavily by Google and Apple. Why dabble with Opera?

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Heck, Opera is not even open source. There’d be nothing wrong with this except that their marketing pitch appears built around freeing yourself from the big guys. For all their “free the little guy” spiel, your self-hosted data has to run through Opera’s proxy servers. Seems like this would help Opera become a big guy, wouldn’t it? But presumably that’s OK; it’s the other big guys you have to worry about.

In short, color me sceptical. There are probably many details yet to come, and at this early stage there may be some misunderstanding in this blog and elsewhere. But as it stands I don’t see an audience crying out for the kind of web Opera says they reinvented; nor do I see a successful Unite freeing us from relying on someone else’s control, it would simply change that “someone else” to Opera.

Opera Unite: Has Opera Reinvented The Web?

Opera_Reinvent

Opera Labs has introduced the service they were claiming will “re-invent the web”.  It’s called Unite, and I’m not so sure this is going to be the great step forward they think it is.

Essentially, Unite puts a web server in the web browser. When you’re running Opera, you not only have a client at your fingertips, but also a server capable of sharing your files with other Opera users (and presumably other browsers).

Right out of the gate, I’m a little confused. Was sharing files with friends/family an issue people were having problems with? Free blogs, Flickr, YouTube, etc. all make it easy to share data with people. And this doesn’t even get into services like Google Docs or Facebook. Who the heck is not sharing because they can’t do it via their own “server”? And don’t the current services handle things like storage and backup for you, tasks you might not want to take on yourself? In others words, has Opera just solved a problem that no one is having?

The Opera introduction reads like a manifesto at times:

Social networking is important, but who owns it — the online real estate and all the content we share on it? How much control over our words, photos, and identities are we giving up by using someone else’s site for our personal information? How dependent have we become?

I’m not sure if they think we want to manage our own servers just to share files, or if they’re trying to scare us into thinking Flickr, for example, is a black hole into which our precious photos may be lost forever. I don’t deny privacy, reliability, etc. are big concerns with any social network, but they’d be no less so if you took on the tasks yourself.

Ultimately, Opera Unite is a platform for which they need developers to build out tools and services beyond the simple items Opera provides:

The first few services we’ve released for Opera Unite are fairly simple and offer functionality that you’ve likely seen elsewhere, perhaps on desktop applications or 3rd party web sites. These first few demos are meant to illustrate how Opera Unite services are put together and the basics behind the new technology.

If you’re a developer why would you go there? Mobile is the hot market right now. Not just the iPhone, but Palm’s WebOS and Google’s Android are likely to provide a relatively better return on your investment.

From a browser perspective, Webkit’s the hot engine, fueling Safari and Chrome with support for HTML 5, which is pushed heavily by Google and Apple. Why dabble with Opera?

OperaUniteLoginHeck, Opera is not even open source. There’d be nothing wrong with this except that their marketing pitch appears built around freeing yourself from the big guys. For all their “free the little guy” spiel, your self-hosted data has to run through Opera’s proxy servers. Seems like this would help Opera become a big guy, wouldn’t it? But presumably that’s OK; it’s the other big guys you have to worry about.

In short, color me sceptical. There are probably many details yet to come, and at this early stage there may be some misunderstanding in this blog and elsewhere. But as it stands I don’t see an audience crying out for the kind of web Opera says they reinvented; nor do I see a successful Unite freeing us from relying on someone else’s control, it would simply change that “someone else” to Opera.