2010.08.20

Google’s got something new planned… it’s the Chrome Web Store! There’s a nice description at Mashable with a well-produced video. (Google seems to be working hard at creating well-produced videos, filled with people you really want to trust… are they actors? Real Google employees? Real Actors Google has hired as employees?)

Evil-o-Meter

So this new Chrome Web Store, or “App Store” as it were, seems to be a way for people to “sell” applications to Chrome users. To be fair, you can also make your app available for free. As for the paid part, well gosh, they aren’t that evil because they take a smaller cut than Apple does with their app store. Make no mistake, Apple’s App Store is evil, so even if you’re less evil than the guy who is more evil… you’re still evil!

Apple’s App Store is evil. I won’t deny that… Steve basically says that if you don’t like it, you can build your app as a web site, and use Mobile Safari to access it on your iPhone. That idea may be less evil than the Chrome Web Store, because while Apple suggests you do this, it doesn’t do anything to get into the revenue stream of it, and leave that’s totally up to you to figure out. I also don’t think they suggest you make it work only in Mobile Safari…

So here are some questions about the Chrome Web Store…

  • Is it based on open standards?
  • Will it work in all browsers, not just Google Chrome?
  • Can anyone run a competitor to the Chrome Web Store?
  • Does it help keep the web free?
  • Does it help keep the web open?

There is a battle going on… it’s for control of the web. I’m on the side of keeping the web free and open. I can see this fracturing the web, and I don’t like it.

It looks like the Chrome Web Store will also allow for the selling of browser extensions for Chrome. An interesting idea. While Mozilla popularized the idea of Browser extensions, Google wants to come along an monetize it. But don’t worry, they’ll only take a small cut…

Ultimately this makes sense for Google and their Chrome OS, which means to take over everything, because all you’ll need is The (Google) Cloud™ and the Chrome Web Store so you can buy your Google Approved Apps to run in your Google Chrome Browser and OS. But it’s OK, because Google doesn’t believe in lock-in.

This is just one more reason I really don’t care for the Google Chrome web browser… I prefer to stick with a browser created by a non-profit organization that has a similar mission to mine, to promote openness on the web.

P.S. I think Google is a great search engine. They also do other things quite well, but that doesn’t mean I want them to do everything, and I definitely don’t want them to control everything.

4 Responses to “Chrome Web Store… Evil?”

  1. Phil WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    With the caveat that I haven’t watched the latest presentation, but in the knowledge that I watched and read all the initial coverage from Google IO:

    1) apps can be HTML + JS + an xml metadata file
    2) Yes
    3) Yes
    4) Dunno
    5) Probably not

    While folk singers popularized the idea of singing at social gatherings, bards want to come along and monetize them.

    I’ve been running Firefox since it was Phoenix, and the browser application has, broadly speaking, got worse for me over the past few years. That is why I run Chrome. It feels like Firefox of a few years ago but with contemporary standards support.

  2. Phil, Chrome is a good browser… a really good browser actually, but number 4 and 5 on your list are sticking points for me. I’m just not convinced Google is as good a steward of the browser experience and how it relates to the future of the open web as Mozilla is.

    There’s also the whole “works for me” thing… I read about all these weird issues people have with Firefox, crashes, and what not, and I use it often 12+ hours per day and have very few issues. I’m really hoping the speed increases in Firefox 4 deal with a lot of the “Firefox is slow” complaints I often hear.

  3. Phil WilsonNo Gravatar says:

    I can clarify my “browser application has .. got worse” statement – Firefox has got slower, more complex, added more options, integrated features that were plugins. It is the 800lb gorilla in the “open source browser” space.

    I concur with the “open web” thing, but, y’know, I’m in my browser for over 10 hours a day pretty much every day. Some fraction of this is the tipping point where, if there is a better free-as-in-beer option, I will take it. Firefox used to be that option. Maybe with 4 it will be again.

  4. Ah, gotcha… thanks for clarifying. It’s that damn no-win situation. One side wants Feature X and Feature Y, *and* Feature Z baked into the browser, while the other side says “Too many options! Too complex! Too slow!” and I guess it’s hard to find a middle ground.

    So Firefox has (in your opinion) become what it set out to destroy? m/b was meant to be lightweight and fast, and along the way that changed and now it’s bloated and slow. Damn the course of progress!

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