To do my work each day, I have Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Freemind, maybe another well established Windows or Java application, plus a browser open. The browser will typically have 5 to 10 tabs opens. I am switching between these various applications continually which is why I want them all open. Given that Windows is now an ancient operating system, I don't think this is an unreasonable way of working.
The unpaid open source developers of Freemind are excused from the complaints that are to follow. The product does the job I ask of it effectively every time I use it, the upgrades are useful, the beta versions are stable, performance is good even with last year's PC specification. It is indispensable in the process of getting to grips with a new project, a new technology, in planning and managing my activities. It demonstrates that it is possible to create and maintain over the years a stable, focused and effective product. I only have praise for the product and its developers.
The first "office" suite of applications that I can remember using on a NorthStar Advantage micro-computer consisted of WordStar, Multiplan, dbase 2 and I don't think we had any presentation software. This computer ran CPM, had 64k memory, 180k 5.25 single sided variable density floppy disks. Connection to a mini computer that we had was achieved by me building a cable and then writing some code on both boxes to make them talk. It was crude, far less capable and I absolutely don't want to go back.
The interesting thing though is that I probably pushed Wordstar to its limit then and used maybe 80% of its functionality regularly. Today, I probably don't know what 80% of the functionality of Word is. I guess I use 5% of it regularly to do the same job that I did with Wordstar. Is it more effective to use? I am not convinced.
However, the comparison of Word with Wordstar is not important. It is the contrast with Freemind that is. They are both modern packages that do critical jobs for me. The commercial models are different, the attitude to delivering customer satisfaction is evidently different, the development approach must be different.
What has this got to do with Google Chrome?
To work effectively, I need a fast stable multi-tab browser that correctly renders the sites that I use, correctly executes the links and buttons I click on, that doesn't cripple my PC with poor memory management, and doesn't require me to spend time researching how to configure it to get marginal performance improvements. I think my requirement is for a basic utility that works. Unfortunately, IE, Mozilla, Safari and Opera all fail to do this.
The reviews and forums are already full of requests that could turn Google Chrome into bloatware. I hope that the Google Chrome developers don't lose sight of the basics in the way that I feel other browser developers seem to have. I hope they adopt the attitudes that the developers of Freemind have and deliver what I believe that the market has been waiting for. If they do succumb to the mountain of feature requests and compromise core browsing performance then I am afraid that Google Chrome will be just another browser that doesn't quite work.