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

About the Author

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

comments powered by Disqus

Reader Comments:

Fri, Jul 21, 2006 Charles High Point, NC

"Show me one killer idea that came from open source"


AFA a better browser -- try Maxthon.

Wed, Jul 12, 2006 William Miami

Barney While Waht you Whish as Features in a Browser are Laudable. Copernic already has Execllent Seach utilities that do most if not not all they your ask. (Especially the Sharing part).

Tue, Jun 6, 2006 Steve Chicago, IL


Er, NCSA Mosaic, the predecessor of Netscape 1.0 and IE?
For that matter, the entire concept of the Web?

Just for starters.

Wed, May 31, 2006 Christopher Bell Glossop U.K.

Barney, Barney, Barney. Oh dear.
"Show me one killer idea that came from Open Source"? I guess that would be an operating system that is free and mature. BSD Unix for example.

Tue, May 30, 2006 Charles Durst Arlington, MA

> Open source dilutes ideas so much that
> innovation is lost. Show me one killer
> idea that came from open source.

Show me one "killer" idea that came from MSFT first. :-)

I mean innovative technical ideas, not legal/marketing/business ones. MSFT Reasearch ideas that never make it into a released product don't count either.

What does the phrase "dilutes ideas so much" even mean? If you mean what I think you do, isn't the typical MSFT feature creep the best example of, "[diluting] ideas so much that innovation is lost."
(Ref: MS Office 2003)

Feature Creep is a proprietary trap that Open Source software usually doesn't fall into. (Yeah, yeah, in some cases FLOSS doesn't even have features, much less creep... but you have to judge something by its best examples, not its worst.)

In any case, if you really want to see some killer features that came out of Open Source, I'd show you Firefox extensions (the feature itself as well as several plug-ins), Wikipedia (and several other Open Source-based websites), and many killer features in each of: Apache, Perl, MythTV, Azureus, VLC, OpenSSH, GCC, KDE, Knoppix, etc.. Oh and there might be a few killer ideas that originated in the Linux kernel too.

Oh yeah, and don't forget the ISO-standard ODF format that orignally came out of
I hope that MSFT will someday see that a standard office document interchange format is a "killer" feature too.

Keep on Browsin'

Mon, May 29, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

The near perfect browser does not have to be invented, it already has been: Opera

Sat, May 27, 2006 Anonymous Anonymous

Redmond Mag? Bwa ha ha ha ha ha!!! You guys are really.....I mean do you actually think ha ha ha ha ha
You can't be serious?

Add Your Comment Now:

Your Name:(optional)
Your Email:(optional)
Your Location:(optional)
Please type the letters/numbers you see above

Redmond Tech Watch

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.