If you haven’t had time to do so already, you should really check out Google Chrome, which promises to be the most significant new development in computer software in about ten years. Personally, I’m not a big fan of adapting new technology right away, prefering instead to watch others scrape their knees while the kinks are worked out of the new system. In this case, however, I’m inclined to maybe take the leap, just because this seems a genuinely new and different technology of which I’d like to be well-familiar by the time it reaches saturation.
What Google is not saying about this new app – but everybody else who knows a thing or two about computers is saying – is that Chrome is not really a browser at all: it’s a web-based application Operating System. Chrome allows you to launch web apps directly from the desktop – like anything from Flickr’s photo managing to your WordPress blog. It handles file downloads on its own, has an integrated search/url/bookmarks toolbar that seems at least as impressive as FireFox’s “Awesome Bar,” which I love. In short, this application seems built around the idea that you can virtually bypass your current Operating System and file system to store and work with everything online, making Windows optional and Linux systems at least as viable.
All of this is fascinating, but think for a moment about the consequences. Your ISP is looking to cap your downloads, which means even accessing your own stuff could cost extra money. Telco giants – not just your local ISP – want extra money for all that surfing you do. Meanwhile, Google itself has left privacy advocates steaming over it’s dealings with China, and the pressure to release sensitive information in the United States and elsewhere will become more and more difficult to resist as we continue to do more things online.
I don’t particularly have any perscriptions for any of this. All I’m saying is that we need to pay much, much more attention to the Internet as a vital resource than our current political environment allows. We need to forget that much of the traffic on the Internet is concerned with porn or Miley Cyrus and take this seriously.