If it was included in your school curriculum you may be familiar with the term "Luddites".
The Luddites were 19th-century English textile artisans who protested against newly developed labour-saving machinery in the early 1800's that required less skilled workers to operate, thus threatening their livelihoods.
Rumour has it that a chap by the name of Ned Ludd, smashed up some of these machines and became synonymous, emblematic even of the "Luddite" movement ensuring himself a place in the annals of history.
Well I am feeling a bit Ludditish myself.
I cite three examples.
This week a client emailed to say they could not view or edit certain aspects of their content management system in Internet Explorer 10.
This is a pretty serious matter if you are active in updating products, services and pricing on your website.
So we checked out the issue. It works fine in Firefox, Safari, Chrome and earlier versions of IE and in actual fact in IE10
It would appear, in IE10 that the the default settings may differ to that of the previous version. (though we did not know this at the time.)
So the options immediately apparent were:
A) Use a different browser
B) We can invest some time, identify the issue and adapt the admin console.
C) Roll back the browser in IE10 - (you can do this in IE10) to an earlier version
Either way, there has to be some investment in time, resource and probably a brief learning curve
The client opted for Firefox and fair play to him. It was a quick solution and the easiest of the three for immediate results.
Every website that we develop is tested for browser compatibility and to a certain extent backwards compatibility.
Obviously back dating to Internet Explorer 5 went off the agenda a long time ago, but we have websites that are out there from 10 years ago, and in this particular instance 8 years that are still functioning and likewise, so are the Content management systems.
The issue that was reported was the inability to see webpage images in IE10 - So if you experience this then go here for some help with that.
It seems that nowadays the norm for the big company brands is to deliver something that increases and embellishes certain performance and product aspects but all too often has drawbacks for existing users in their pursuit of retaining or increasing market share and then issue a patch, sometimes.
In respect of the browsers which are free, more consumers = more advertising revenues. So if we (as the consumers) don't like them we don't have to use them.
And we do make choices.
The dominance of IE though still significant is being eroded, principally by Google Chrome.
Eroded is not the word really. The IE browser market share has taken a hammering from a dominant position of 43.58% (worldwide) in June 2011
If you were to look at Worldwide Internet usage by the top 5 browsers from the beginning of June 2011 to the end of May 2012 the cumulative picture show IE as the dominant browser
Rankings Browser %
Ist - Internet Explorer 38.76
2nd - Google Chrome 26.52
3rd - Firefox 26.1
4th - Safari 6.07
5th - Opera 1.8
6th - Others 0.74
However what the cumulative picture does not show is that IE declined from having a 43.58% market share at the beginning of June 2011 down to 32.1% a year later.
The main beneficiary was Google Chrome which went from around 20.65% share in June 2011 to 32.43% by the end of May in 2012 year end with Safari gaining 2% and Firefox losing around 3% share. Opera dropped 1% and some of the "other browsers" collectively picked up 1%
In the following year for the same period June 2012 to the end of May 2013 Google Chrome surged ahead extending it's lead over IE without really looking back ending with 41.38% of the market compared in in May 2013 with 27.7% for IE
The cumulative picture for the year ending May 2013 is as follows:
Rankings Browser %
Ist - Google Chrome 36.19 (+9.67)
2nd - Internet Explorer 30.9 (-7.86)
3rd - Firefox 21.93 (-4.17)
4th - Safari 7.85 (+1.78)
5th - Others 1.75 (+1.01)
6th - Opera 1.38 (-0.42)
I received a call from a certain accounts software company to say that they were discontinuing support for my accounts version (that exists and works very happily thank you very much), so I may want to upgrade to the new version or indeed use the new cloud based version.
My experience with this company is that when you used to get an instruction book with the CD,(OK, that was a long time ago and we have been on downloads for a while since) you needed the online support system to translate the book. I wasn't sure if they were in the accounts or publishing business.
Then the book got thinner and now support is pretty much all online.
Now when it is all set up and we have worked our business to fit round it (or so it felt at the time) there is a threat looming on the horizon,that we may have to experience yet another learning curve and of course pay for the new version. But it ain't broke!
As a footnote:
Windows XP, the operating system launched over 10 years ago in October 2001, still has a staunch following and as of last October had almost 30% usage share worldwide.
Vista by comparison though a newer browser retains under 8%.
The % of XP users is higher in the corporate market and of course you can not run IE9 on XP.
And finally (I'm just getting started) Google, I love you deeply in so many respects, but you are irksome and increasingly so when you are in "product thrust mode"
I have more than one Google email account (or Google ID) in an attempt to compartmentalise certain aspects of the business.
Now there is the option you can sign into multiple accounts at once.
Ok, that sounds good, less passwords, easier access, does not compromise security. I'll go for that.
OK, apparently there are "Products that do not support multiple sign-in"
"Some Google products and mobile versions of Google products do not support the use of multiple accounts in the same web browser. Instead, they default to the first account that you signed in to from your current browser."
OK Google, which products do not support multiple sign -in?
"If you want to use an account with a product that doesn't support multiple accounts, you have two options:
Sign out of all your Google Accounts and then sign in to the account you want to access.
Sign in to another account using a second web browser "Learn more."
OK, I'll click on the "learn more" link and it will no doubt tell me which products do not support multiple sign in.
I mean we have google drive, circles, email, analytics, Adwords, tools and more, so it is important and will no doubt be there.
So https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/179235 reveals:
"Other options for using multiple accounts
Google offers multiple sign-in which allows you to use more than one Google Account in the same browser session for a "limited set of Google products."
Ok, another link highlighting the "limited set of google products",
and….we are back to the first page again at https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/1721977.
So Google, did you do this just to annoy us? It is soooo complicated.
Your opening paragraph is full of promise:
"Tired of always signing out to switch between your accounts on your own computer? Whenever you need to switch accounts, just click the Add account button to sign in to your other account(s) and conveniently switch between them."
And we are back to a very familiar trend that has not just emerged,but in full flow where the public are the guinea pigs not just for Google, but for many of the big players as the next line is:
Have ideas to improve multiple sign-in in? "Let us know"
But really this gets much much worse.
At the bottom of the "Let us know page" which invites you to do a bit of form filling (multiple choice to be fair but defying all convention wisdom in relation to user behaviour and attention span) is the following question:
Have you ever accessed a Google product on which you were unable to switch accounts without signing out? If so, which one(s)?
So I have to ask myself the question:
Don't they know?
What testing has Google done?
It's me. I'm being a bit dense. Must be.....
Can they say which products are definitely supported using multiple sign in?
i.e. What products do (definitely) work in the latest browser versions for instance:
- Google Chrome Version 27.0.1453.93
- Internet Explorer 10
- Firefox 21.0
- Safari version 6.04
We spend so much time testing before we consider the product is fit for purpose i.e. that we can release it to our customers.
The consequence of this is time; developers time, project management time, testers time.
Given that Google has a couple of bob in their pockets, and a mass of organised resource, this could be rolled out a hell of a lot better and actually make sense.
What is driving this of course is market share.
Google is batting away with Google Circles and Drive, trying to make inroads on Facebook .
So I am not doing any combining accounts and changing all my passwords to find out that, actually I still have to have multiple accounts and even more passwords to remember.
No, it's not you actually it's them
So, in response to so many questions from people thoroughly focused on their various trades and professions who use the various web platforms to help them on their way who pre-qualify their email or phone call for assistance with,
"It's probably me and I'm doing something wrong, but….."
The answer more and more is "actually, no, it's not you at all, you are right on the button - it's them.
The stats in this blog were gleaned from http://gs.statcounter.com