internet explorer

Microsoft is rumored to be working on a new browser for Windows 10. So new, it may not even be called Internet Explorer.

It will still use Trident, Microsoft’s web rendering engine, so it’s likely to be more about changing the user interface (to be more like Chrome) and brand than anything fundamental. However, the break is supposedly big enough that Microsoft will include both this new browser and the existing IE11 “just in case” for Windows 10.

The new browser’s primary feature is to be lightweight and fast loading; hence its code name “Spartan” within Microsoft. This is the browser designed for all devices: PCs, tablets, phones and maybe even smaller.

It will probably have native app support – similar to extensions – and I expect Microsoft to eventually port it to Android and iOS.

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There’s an interesting story on Business Insider about how Google is trying to force its partners to include more Google made apps on their Android phones.

Google is requiring one of its partners to increase the number of Google-made apps from nine in 2011 to 20 in 2014.  This year’s agreement also required that there must be a Google search widget on the default home screen of the phone along with an icon for the Google Play store and a Google icon that houses 13 apps included “Google Chrome, Google Maps, Google Drive, YouTube, and Gmail among others.

As you might have guessed, I have mixed feelings about this.

The upside is that the more Google-y the experience, the better (right now). Google apps like Maps and Chrome are better than their alternatives. Others like Google Play and Youtube have no alternatives.

The downside is that Google is acting like a monopolist — with shades of Microsoft.

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While I was researching my story about Chromebooks for TechSpot last week (a synthesis of stuff I’ve written before), I found this interesting article from OMG!Chrome!, a Chromebook enthusiast site.

It’s a strong argument that the people buying Chromebooks in retail and online aren’t normal people with low computing needs — they are in fact tech savvy people looking for a cheap second device.

Based on past articles, it might seem like I hate Chromebooks. Nothing of the sort. Thin clients like Chromebooks are the future and I can’t wait for us to get there. However, that future is still far away, and the amount of hype and coverage dedicated to Chromebooks today far exceed what it deserves.

An excellent device for your grandma? I think not. A companion device for gadget lovers? Sure, I get that. Chromebook’s simple nature and fast boot times can make a great experience for specific use cases.

But I wouldn’t recommend Chromebooks to “normal” people. If you think Windows RT or 8 are difficult to comprehend, Chromebooks are worse.

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Yesterday we used Snapchat, Instagram and Candy Crush as three examples of apps that were just as much about great marketing as they are great products. The implication being that there are many good products that failed because the marketing didn’t connect. Today we’ll present three examples of that.

Let’s start with a major product from a major brand that failed: Google Reader. True story — a year ago an excited friend pitched me that “Jeff, this a billion dollar idea. What if we could invent a way to keep track of websites, so you can get all the latest updates from the websites you follow all in one place?” LOL. That product exists of course; it’s called RSS and it’s already widely supported by our industry. Yet, very few outside the tech world know what it is; even when its leading product was from a titan like Google (Reader was shut down in June 2013).

My start-up, feecha, organizes content from websites, blogs, events databases, etc. into neighbourhoods so you can easily see what’s happening in the area you care about. Part of that is utilizing RSS feeds. When we contacted bloggers to get their permission to use their content, we were shocked to discover that most hadn’t even heard of RSS.

Has there been any product like Google Reader and RSS that added so much value yet remains largely unknown? Lack of awareness is a marketing issue, and one that the RSS community has yet to figure out.

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