Truth about Google?

December 29, 2005

Dan Norman writes an essay about the "truth" on Google's simplicity. He points that Google, in fact, is creating a facade where it creates the illusion of simplicity by not showing the information all at once. Other Google services like Google Maps, etc. have to be "dug" in order to be accessed, in contrast to MSN or Yahoo, which shows everything at once.

My take on this is that Google is, first and foremost, a search engine. Google may have adopted a different approach to it, but its "one-text box-button" look has actually worked. Why? It gives the web surfer focus on the task at hand, which is to search for something.


10 Web Predictions for 2006

December 12, 2005

Yeah, I know. The year is at its tail-end and this is basically your "predictions" article where the author does a Nostradamus and predicts what's in store for the next year. So drum roll please…

  • Blogs with AJAX – People on the bleeding edge of web technology will eventually find a way to integrate AJAX into the mix, with all this Web 2.0 hulabaloo. Functionalities like on-the-fly article display, collapsing, etc. may be getting a lot of screen-time.
  • Browser Wars – Internet Explorer 7 vs Firefox 2.0! It's going to be like 1999 all over again. IE7's has been impressive with the demos I've seen Microsoft– the multiple window preview may turn out to be the perfect compliment to tabbed browsing. The question a few months from now is what feature Firefox will have to compete with IE7.
  • Web 2.0 Saturation – This is actually a misnomer since only the mainstream sites will incorporate functionality while the rest of the world haven't even heard of Web 2.0.
  • More Minimalist Look – Interface-wise, more and more sites will settle for subtle aesthetics. But that doesn't mean creativity will be fettered– Think more iPod-esque visuals. Designers will try to achieve that look.
  • Hot Colors – There will be a lot of experimentation with strong colors– yellows, oranges and reds for mainstream sites, with off-beat accents. Of course, subtlety is the key here.
  • Tables, Still – Unfortunately, web development IDE 2006 releases would still not be able to fully integrate Web Standards in the presentation layer (VS, Sun Enterprise, etc.)
  • New Tools – At the heels of the acquisition of Macromedia, Adobe will churn out a web development tool that will dominate the market, but it will be a "miss." It will suffer from the growing pains of integrating the strengths of the Macromedia product line.
  • It won't be the year of Ruby on Rails – Despite demonstrating great potential for web development, Ruby on Rails won't go mainstream yet. The PHP-ASP(.NET)-JSP elite club won't be accepting new members in 2006. Maybe 2007.
  • Bigger Resolutions – 800 x 600 will see a massive reduction in monitor resolution share (~15-20% share) and designing for 1024 x 768 will be the de facto standard (~50-60%).
  • Up and Coming Web Fonts Rule – Gainers: Lucida and Vera. Loser: Verdana. Stay-put: Trebuchet and Georgia.

Make sure check back here a year from now and see how far off I am. 🙂

I have this idea of being able to have a "sneak peek" of where links lead to. No, this isn't your Preview Firefox extension, nor the thumbnail images becoming popular these days. It's more of like flipping a page of a book, a more familiar metaphor in the real world.

In this feature that I'll conveniently call Sneak Peek, webpages where the links lead to will be viewable like a sliding door, controlled by a slider mechanisim in the same browser window. The original window can easily slide back when the user has taken a peek.

As opposed to the thumbnail images, it would be easier since the actual page is being viewed, no overhead for thumbnail creation.

This feature in browsers would be useful when doing intense research– where you have to go through loads of irrelevant pages. This gives web page preview a whole new dimension.

First Look: Yahoo Mail Beta

December 9, 2005

I just tried out Yahoo Mail's new interface. It's chock-full of AJAX components and functionality: It tries to emulate the traditional desktop application, particularly an email client in the mold of Outlook or Mozilla Tunderbird.

Here are some features I got to use:

  • Keyboard short-cuts/functionality
  • Dynamic frame/window resizing
  • Item selection similar to a desk-top application

I'm sure there are more functions left to be discovered and dy only beef is the big advert a the right side of the interface.

Thus far, Yahoo Mail and its competitor, Google's Gmail, are the some of the few web applications that are showing the way in terms of providing a fluid web experience. (Although from a visual design perspective, Yahoo Mail gets the nod.)

Konqueror conquers Acid2

December 1, 2005

Konqueror, KDE's Linux-based browser, became the second browser to pass the Acid2 test.

From the article:

Apple's Safari browser was the first, which makes use of Konqueror's advanced rendering engine KHTML. Thanks to some fixes that were integrated back into Konqueror from Safari improvements, and the hard work of the KHTML programmers, Konqueror can now boast a high level of CSS compliance.

I believe this brings to Linux an advanced web standards compliant rendering. It's also interesting to note that Safari is based on Konqueror's rendering engine.