Barney's Rubble

The Barney Browser

Doug offers his suggestions for the perfect Web browser.

I love browsing. Browsing helps me do research, send e-mails and it's fun. I'm far less impressed with browser software, though. Just as I have used Word for 15 years without seeing any improvement (in fact, Word has steadily gone backwards), so, too, is the case with browsers.

I can't think of a single thing that IE does that Netscape Navigator didn't do just as well 10 years ago. Firefox is a better browser only because it isn't so full of holes. Don't even get me started on IE 6, which never met a spyware program it didn't love (and immediately invite in).

There are two basic ways to move forward with the state of the browser: Embrace new technologies that fall under Web 2.0 and build new fundamental interactive features. Microsoft's next big browser idea seems focused on plugging gaps, tightening controls and copying Firefox's tabbed browsing -- not exactly major innovations.

Google shouldn't just push any old open source solution. Open source dilutes ideas so much that innovation is lost. Show me one killer idea that came from open source.

The Barney Browser

That's why Google needs to build its own browser. It could build a killer browser using what it already owns. I hereby give up all monetary rights and all I ask is a "Thank you." Google, you have my full permission to build the Barney Browser.

Many great inventions come from frustration (twist-off beer caps). The Barney Browser flows out of my frustration with searching. Sure, I can find all kinds of wacky things and do research so quickly I sound reasonably intelligent in a matter of minutes (you can all stop snickering now).

Once the search is done, though, what do you do? Browse through a bunch of bookmarks? Searching is a process where you learn, but the process of learning is lost in a confusing collection of favorites.

The Google Barney Browser integrates searching with a file system so the intelligence that comes from searches can be organized, used, shared and built upon. Perhaps these strings of pages can be cached so if the site goes down, the information isn't lost.

Google, as if reading my mind, took a baby step toward the Barney Browser right as this column was going to press. The company has a mini on-screen notebook to save search results and send them to friends and co-workers. And the company is working on ways for you to label Web sites so your friends can easily find them. Nice work Google, but it's still no Barney Browser! What do you think? Write me at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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