Today's Quick Hits… focusing primarily on the subject of Browsers.  Seems appropriate given the news of the last week or so.

  • I've been playing around with browsers too much lately.  First, IE8 B2.  Then Google Chrome.  Two browsers, two tech giants, and two betas.  New browsers shouldn't be this interesting or exciting.  Perhaps it is because, generally speaking, browsers suck.
  • After playing with these both for a few days, my early impression is that Chrome rocks.  Sorry, Microsoft friends.  Chrome is screaming fast and just based on my limited sample, it works with more sites than IE8 B2.  I'll reserve full judgment for the finished version of IE, but Google set the bar pretty high IMO.
  • I like that someone is raising the bar for browsers.  As is the case with the iPhone, sometimes it takes "the dramatic" to move an industry along.  Lord knows, browser compatibility issues really drain the spirit of web developers & web app devs worldwide.  Maybe this is a step in the right direction.  We can always hope.
  • The development, marketing, and PR management of these two browsers says a lot about the differences between Microsoft and Google.  One well publicized, one kept under wraps for the most part.  One released in 4 languages, one in 43.  Both released within a week of each other.  One gets high praise and a ton of attention, the other is met with a collective shrug from the marketplace (which I think is undeserved FWIW).
  • My conclusion — Google executes *really* well… almost frighteningly well.  Everything they do isn't successful, but they know how to capitalize when they build interesting things.  They also know how to manage their "duds" into oblivion.  This may very well be emerging as their competitive advantage… identifying opportunity, capitalizing on it, and removing their failures from public consciousness.  The buzz (examples here, here, and here) is unreal and all over the blogosphere.  Quite the PR coup if you ask me.
  • Meanwhile, Microsoft is making up for its past browser sins, not to mention doing business a particular way that involves a lot of advance notice and in the end, not a lot of excitement.  Yet in fact, IE8 will be a great step in the right direction.  In fact, I seem to remember that in some ways they started from scratch when building this version (someone please correct me if my memory fails).  Yet, response was fairly muted outside the walls of Redmond.

I think there is a lot that can be learned from Google and the way that they make developers and early adopters excited about all the big things they do.