Saturday, September 6, 2008

What is Google Chrome? Just ask Gordon Gekko

The language surrounding computers has always been a challenge from many standpoints. See the cartoon above from 1985. This could easily be updated to today, but a big difference is you had a very small minority of people who did "things" with computers back then. Now, you have P-Diddy as a persona of someone who is now known as a video blogger. P-Diddy is not your typical Revenge-of-the-Nerd archetype.

There are a gazillion dissections on the web of the svelte new browser from the company that we've come to expect great innovations from. The thing I'd like to include on the discussion is the language used within the new product, and by others describing Chrome.

Within Chrome, Google uses playful language, like:

  • "Aw, Snap! Something went wrong while displaying this webpage."
  • "Stats for nerds."
  • "Browser crash…go boom"
  • "New incognito window"
  • "Under the hood"

This is normal language that we use everyday. We understand it, unlike the messages we get from most traditional software. Have you ever said anything like, "The application failed to initialize because the window station is being shut down" in a regular conversation with a friend?

Outside of Chrome, Wall Street is very interested in any new product from Google because they are successful and publicly traded. I really enjoy when a company comes out with something new that has the interest of business folks. I enjoy hearing how financial analysts dissect the technology components from their point of view. It's so foreign compared to how users speak of the same software. Do you ever hear stories from your friends that use anywhere near the same terminology business people do?

Take a look at the video below from MSNBC.

Direct link to MSNBC video:

The discussion by Jim Goldman is purely about bottom line. This product is about "eyeballs" to him as a direct threat to Microsoft. While that may be true, the Google products that he casts aside in the piece such as Gmail and Google docs as "dabbling" have become a big parts of my online life. This real story here to me is Google's focus on delivering great user experiences consistently. There would be no subsequent stories of defeating Microsoft if Google didn't do that.

A last comment on language is the comic-about-the-comic that Google launched by Scott McCloud of Understanding Comics fame. does a good job at lampooning Google, just in case it takes itself too seriously.

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