Friday, July 31, 2009

Are Browsers Conforming?

When I first saw the pictures of Firefox 4 the first though that crossed my mind was "That is too similar to Google Chrome" so I got a incentive to instead of just writing up a blog post about my own opinions I've decided to ask the community at geeks! about their opinions on the matter. With mixed responses I decided to show a whole communities thoughts and feelings before I go on with my own opinions, hopefully this will create a more diverse post, rather than a single faceted post.

I don't think anything is sacred anymore, but if IE copies chrome interface, all hell will break loose – Matthew Medina

I thought I was the only one who noticed this. And I don't like it. Every browser used to be original, but now even IE8 is just like Chrome. If you ask me, Chrome is by far the most original when it comes to features, design, and not to mention coding. - Robert

I really think there are more and more similarities. Not only in look, but also in features. I mean, of course browsers are all meant to do the same so, that's what happens. Someone creates a new feature, and as soon as the feature isn't patented anymore, all browsers start to implement it. But the thing that makes Firefox the best is its customisability. - Frederik

Good observation, I've also seen it ever since Safari 4 or whatever came out. Well, I guess we'll be seeing this forever: Firefox starts tabs (or whoever did) and now it's a must in every browser, even internet explorer. I guess soon transparency, themes and add ons will be a must in every browser, and the circle of browsers taking features continues. I guess the developers maybe (just a possibility) see that they're better off just adapting a nice feature so it's a plus for their browser, and there's nothing in the way of them doing so: if IE can do tabs, then I guess Firefox can do Chrome's long as it doesn't make the whole browser look and feel like Chrome (for example). Then it's just worrying.
- Phill

Umm, for the Mozilla company browser (the company who makes Firefox), I prefer the developmental Minefield. It uses a different JavaScript engine to speed things up. For Apple, naturally my preference for all browsers is Safari 4. Internet Explorer has been a failure these past 2 years. Now, everyone is copying the other. Well, IE doesn't have anything to copy. Chrome's interface is the most copied but Safari 4 fixed the tab bar and put it back down. Um, doom for all browsers. It's an all out war! - James Luong

With the communities views shown I can now go in depth on my own personal opinions. Since I first saw the things that were plagiarised by Apple with their Safari browser from Google's Chrome I started to think to myself, that doesn't feel as though it should be happening, sure keeping up with the flow is important in maintaining market dominance but by no means does that mean that they should be selling out by plagiarising each other. With the look of Firefox screaming Chrome and the feel of Safari becoming more and more Chrome like it's hard to believe that just a few versions ago they were completely different from one another, sure a few similarities here and there, but the differences were something like the difference between Vista and OSX. Features were different the feeling was different and the looks were definitely different from one another, and then came the next gen of browsers looking and feeling more and more similar.

In this time we saw Google Chrome being added to the market which became a dominant player in the browser world taking up 3.6% of the market in December of 2008, a great deal over Safari and Opera that were at the time around 2.5% between the two. It was Google Chromes sudden hit to the market that saw it rapidly surge to become one of the most popular browsers in just months of its release. From here we see the whole phase of plagiarism start.

With such a rapid success I guess most of the other browser companies like Mozilla and Apple would've loved to have the same growth and success that Chrome had, and who could blame them. I do feel though that there should be a limit to how much they can interpret a browser. To keep the browsers "Heritage" and a browsers individuality untouched should never be changed or plagiarised because then we're not running different browsers we'll just be using one web browser with different logos.

What's great about the web 2.0 world that we're living in is that most things that are picked up on are changed within a while, so if you do feel strongly about this send some e-mails around and try and get some attention to this subject, because after all, you could be one of the people who fundamentally changes how browsers are developed in the future.

All of the above statements were chosen not on how long the quote was, not on what the persons views were, and all of the quotes that I grabbed out of random after being actually read to make sure that they weren't spam or something irrelevant proved to be consistent with what I had noticed with my observation beforehand. This has been my first collaborative blog post and I look forward in doing more in the future. If you'd like to take apart in this you can find me on my twitter account, I always listen and I always reply.

By Matthew Willison


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