Greg Gannicott’s Blog


Why People Don’t Like Microsoft

Posted in Technical by Greg Gannicott on May 31, 2009
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I read this great blog post over the weekened by Zoho basicially explaining why people don’t trust (or like for that matter) Microsoft, but do trust Google. Funnily enough they say it all boils down to karma.

As someone who’s believing more and more in “doing good things and good things will happen to you” (and its not just ‘Earl’ that makes me believe this – its several things that I might write a blog post about one day), it was quite pleasing to read. Here it is:

http://blogs.zoho.com/general/microsoft-silverlight-vs-google-wave-a-study-in-contrasts

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Google Chrome: So close!

Posted in Technology by Greg Gannicott on September 2, 2008
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Its not been available long (1 hour and 20 minutes in fact) but I’ve been giving Google’s new browser Chrome a run.

To sum up, I really like it… however its not enough to pull me away from Opera.

Credit where its due, its certainly tempting me to switch (more so than Firefox 3 did) but there are a few features its missing that prevents me from using it as my default browser:

  1. Most importantly for me, there’s no sync feature. With Opera I can add a bookmark at home and know full well that it will be available in work within the browser. Same applies to certain other functions. I just added a bookmark to Chrome and it felt like a waste of time. Daft I know, as I still get to use it at home, but its just not the same. The incentive isn’t there to get them right.
  2. The keyboard shortcuts aren’t up to scratch. I thought Google would nail this (as they’re the sort of company who puts in this attention to detail), but they’re lacking. The thing I like about Opera is the ability to navigate the web page with shift+up/down/left/right. This isn’t important to almost everyone, but I love my keyboard shortcuts. They make it so much quicker to get around at times. This is highlighted when I perform a search in Chrome. With Opera I’d hit F8, type “g <search term>”, Google would return results and I’d shift+down to the page I want. Usually the first result. With Chrome I hit F6, type “<search term>”, Google loads up with the result and then I have to reach for the mouse to choose it. Again, I don’t like reaching for the mouse if it can be helped.
  3. When you close the final tab, the whole app goes. Again, not a big deal to most, but I’ve got into the habbit of closing the final tab in Opera with Ctrl+W and the speed dial tab appears and I can start again (all without touching the mouse as well). Do the same in Chrome and the application closes. Doesn’t sound bad, but I then need to reach for the mouse to re-open it. I consider that poor design myself. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could change a setting so this doesn’t happen.

There are other minor faults as well, but they wouldn’t prevent me from using it as my default browser. For instance:

  • Certain features don’t work in Facebook (I can’t join a group for one – an Ajax issue).
  • Certain pictures don’t display on Techcrunch (the file format I guess..).
  • The ctrl+tab doesn’t work for tabs in the same way as alt+tab does for applications (as in you can go back and forth between the same two tabs (this happens correctly in other browsers). You end up cycling through them all from left to right). This isn’t the natural behavour expected, and again Google surprises me here because they’re usually good with that.
But I’d say for a first attempt, they’ve done really well. I’m that close to switching. If they could sort out the 3 niggles I highlighted, I’d switch.
So far I’ve only highlighted the negatives but its got some really good things going for it.
  • ‘Application Mode’ for certain pages. When I’m on Google Reader or Google Mail, I can choose to make it an app. What this does is (depending on your choices) add a link to the web app on your Desktop, Quick Launch and Start Menu – it even uses the .ico image as the icon. Its the little touches like that which completes things nicely. For this reason, although I may not use it as my default browser, I will likely use it for Google Mail, Google Reader, Google Docs and overtime other web apps.
  • Its fast. As a result it feels a pleasure to use.
  • The ‘default page’ is an improvement on Opera’s. Where as Opera allows you to select 9 sites for your default page (Speed Dial), Google offers your most visited ones. These are likely to be the pages you want on such a page. It also includes all your search options (more on this in a bit), recent bookmarks and recently closed tabs.
  • Chrome notices the sites you perform searches on. Do a search on Amazon and it will offer that to you on your default page (and when you start typing “amazon” into the Omnibar (Address bar))
  • Its nice to be able to drag a tab away and have it open a new window.
  • Its nice to drag a download to where you want it to go. Dragging is good. It feels natural. Natural is good. Its intuitive I guess.
  • It offers plenty of screen space for the actual web page. The tabs sit at the very top of the window (alongside the ‘red x’) with only the address bar below it. Every thing else is dedicated to the web site.
I could go on, but I think I’ll leave it at that. I’m sure the more I use it, the more faults and nice touches I’ll find. With it being a Google product I expect to see more nice touches than faults. I can imagine the Default Page and the fact it notices what you search will really come into its own after a while. If they could build that into a sync feature.. well, then I’m sold!
There are so many more things to talk about with regards to this browser. I’ve scratched the surface in terms of using it, but there’s other angles that are worth looking at if you’re an web industry obsessed geek like myself. Best place to start is Techmeme.