Tuesday, 29 July 2014

The Next Generation Browsers.....That Havent Quite Happened

Way back when in the early days of the www open internet, i started getting ideas about a super-browser which would be a personal oracle for content on the internet (in the original greek sense). By 2009 these had crystalised into a more specific concept of a personalised web-bot which would work in the background from your pc and deliver you the holy grail of relevant, salient and up to date information in a standard GUI platform.

This was no stroke of genius, all search engines have been striving for relevancy and anti spam since their inception, and personalised feed has been available since the pre www news groups and into the era of RSS feed (did anyone really use rss for more than a week?).  The ground was trodden but the trail had been blazed by the errant and often unstable marching elephant that is the do it all web browser.

Next generation to me in 2009 meant a super-info-deck outside of the social media circus, to which i was yet to become such an addict as I am today. All your favourite web sites would be scoured for new content, rss news would be screened for relevancy, meta engine searches would be compiled and pages automatically visited and spam screened, and the bot would crawl inexorably looking for highly similar sites and content to your favourites or those of current interest. Essentially a drag and drop lazy gui, which then did most of the leg work in sifting through the shit to get to the news and the stuff you are really interested in, at the same time you worked or even when the pc was on screen saver. More over server side or cloud systems could be employed to deljiver really well plucked content for you and present it in a deck which you could define as you will.

Today we are no where in particular nearer in terms of PC or standard tablet platform browsers: they are generic and have to cover the bases of all html and javascript while also being a cornerstone of consumer commerce and on line banking via secure https. All this and Bill Gates and competitors can't charge a dime, euro or rubel for the consumer software.

There were however many seeds and some still exist, of a more personalisable web browser interface with automatic content supply. For example rss as stated, but then google update alerts on searches and the loknger standing meta crawler pages.

What interceded in the potential for wonderful browser was of course the explosion of mobile devices and the two system tablet war. The outcome has indeed been personalised browers -plural- with uncountable apps which utilise html5 programming as a browser for specific source content, such as facebook or twitter. More open and nearer my concepts are the  newspaper crawlers and the multi social media decks.

In effect then the mobile device has become the interface by means of apps and some with their incessant alerts. I feel we are steered by them and use much of our time looking at paint drying in order to get juicy content and the whole process becomes distracting recreation like patience on windows 3.1.1.

Facebook in particular has its up-sides with news channels and feed filtering but it is irrritating to control the feed now and frankly i don.t want an algorythm deciding what is important for me. I have systematically dropped all meme addicts (bar one very sexy blonde) but then i miss all their good stuff and they get used to me being no likey them and no parles avec moi.

Mozilla firefox and app community has come nearer than many to providing a true post 2010 next generation browser, but they falter now and what was a fast, slim line browser seems to be baggier than IE v5. Opera has some plus points too, but the great white hope of Google Chrome has to be taken with the backdrop of consumer profiling and potential abuse by the US government.

Tablet browsers scare me a little too, especially the standard android one (which is wierdly not yet deleted in favour of Chrome presumably because they are device optimised) it allows for pop outs, split tabs and automatic downloads as soon as you stray down tin pan alley on the electric lady net.

The stage is hardly set and i bait no breath here : yes there could be a super deck, a non social media info oracle. Yes there could be a nice https only browser which is locked from all other browsing and client side app's. However no, it is in no-ones interest to fight against the major browsers and search engines and of course with a robot crawling basis you will get flicked off many sites or entire server banks or served spam from ghost sites.

Apps on mobiles are all the rage and they need to score fast on a pretty narrow benefit proposition, a USP or a brand halo effect, in order to gain critical mass and make money. When we start to think a big app, a  major cross genre of content personalisable browser which uses bot technology and perhaps some server side or cloud computing, then we are some time away. Not because of technology, which is all there, but because of the crazieness of consumer economics.

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