Dead metaphors and Google’s 8% opportunity 23:31 on Monday

Craig Ritchie writes on how only 8% of internet users actually know what a browser is, and how Google needs to educate users about “browsers” and “applications” before — or rather than — advertising the advantages of their Chrome browser and online applications. (The actual post goes beyond that, but this is my cue.)

I don’t believe in the (current) desktop metaphor, I don’t believe in applications, I don’t believe in the need to save documents, and I think I’m losing my belief in the browser. Those are all things of the past. (I’ve written about dusty metaphors before.)

Therefore I don’t think Google should see the study result as a need to educate users about the definition of a browser or an application. Instead, Google should see this as an opportunity to create new definitions! If you’re going to teach 92% percent why something is the way it is and how it works, why not teach 100%? New definitions create new meaning, and new meanings create new thinking. Forget about the browser! Forget about applications! Find a name and an explanation for a platform of the future (like Wave?) in which there are just networked computers that are sometimes offline, in which data is accessed as needed without really “browsing” for anything, and in which there are no Save buttons, just a stream of history and an unlimited undo all the way to the first blank page of every document.

When you think of it, it’s not that far out.

One Response to “Dead metaphors and Google’s 8% opportunity”


  1. Peter Aulén Says:

    Quite fresh thinking. Not a bad idea at all, considering this mish-mash of technologies is convergating all the time. We’ve come a quite long way from the old metaphor of a web “page” quite soon.