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Evolution of Browsers and Google Chrome – TRIZing it

Evolution of Browsers and Google Chrome – TRIZing it

| On 18, Oct 2008

Prakasan Kappoth

Couple of years back I was explaining the Ideal Final Result (IFR) concept to our engineers (Computer engineers) using the example of “search”. The question we tried to answer; what is the IFR for the function (for consumers) search. Since then I was intrigued by the potential possibilities in the human-computer interaction aspect of one of the most active phenomena on the internet, and search was always a fascinating topic to sell TRIZ concept to computer engineers.  Recently Google released their browser (Chrome); before I wanted to install it myself and reading some of the fine prints about Chrome, the concept of IFR with “search” struck me queerly. Before I analyze why, let me try to describe some of the IFR’s we used to fantasize about.

In TRIZ Ideal Final Result means achieving the maximum functionality without any harm and increasing the overall cost (significantly). I assume the cost of developing a browser for Google should not be expensive considering the 20% time given to engineers doing something their own!

What is the Ideal Final Result for us in the “search” function?

– We never want to search if we know everything – This one is beyond the science fiction indeed.
– What if my system can understand what I would be searching in another few minutes – Something like a mind reader?
Possibly some commercially viable IFR’s
– I get paid for searching. Currently, searching is a free service for me.
– My search engine selects the keyword automatically and searches for me.
– My search engine knows what I need to search the moment I open the browser
– My search engine knows from where (my location) I search and what
– My search engine understands my situation in which I’m searching and giving the results based on that. Example; searching for hospitals for, and I get the results with the hospitals very close to the place I’m searching from.

A search engine does my actual work –I’m writing a research paper on cognitive thinking and emotions, and the moment I hit on the search, I may get the results related to the topic I’m searching, and search engine recommends an extra paragraph. (Hmmm…This is a cool feature for me to finish some pending articles…)
– Browser understands my emotions and search based on that. My blood pressure is so high after a meeting with my boss, and my browser is providing me some tips to cool down myself. (Think about integration with my mouse embedded a blood pressure sensor and browser)
– Searching what I may need tomorrow

The list can go on:

When Google announced their browser Chrome last week, the immediate connection made was – “Search” and “browser”, as in a function diagram interacting each other. Naturally, it is pretty evident why Google should develop own browser and enter this market, which is a very competitive from the era of Netscape, and also having partnered with Firefox supporting their browser for sometime.

They may have nicely packaged about their browser capabilities, (I must admit some of them are unique though), however, that doesn’t give their browser an edge on what’s there already, especially FireFox or Safari for a common user like me.

Illustrating the entire thought process behind launching a browser, what I believe Google’s attempt to bring a browser is nothing more than to implement the next generation search feature, indeed a very innovative thinking and an innovative way to achieve the same via their own browser.

Few Ideal Final Result’s we discussed above has been implemented in some part of the world, not necessarily specific to the search, but in similar context. Product like Autonomy is already providing intelligence searching, but with a limited knowledge base (internal to the organization). However, bringing intelligence to the search for the mass, like the way Google excelled in the search engine isn’t very easy with a restricted user and knowledge base.

How could Google fill this gap? A dedicated browser for using their own search engine should help them understanding the usage pattern, context in which we search etc and add some brain. Browser as an application running in my own PC, can facilitate more actions, record/log the instances, situations, applications I’m running and more to understand me as a user.

Here is a classic (?) feature:

When I search for the latest movie and book a ticket through online booking site, my search engine knows that and records it; after few days, I’m enjoying some music on my PC and suddenly remembers this movie I watched and want to check out the option to buy some music and open the browser to search. Bingo, there comes your browser and tells you, dude – here is the best site to purchase this song rated best by your friends (remember I also use my social network) from the movie you watched last week!
Well, perhaps not just fantasies after reading this news I guess – Be sure to read Chrome’s fine print . Some of the terms and conditions are very close to achieving the search IFR, like self searching, not searching etc, if they get to know what I do using their browser, the way I described above.

Incidentally, they have amended some of the clause mentioned in the copyright license, but still I believe they are on to something. Let’s wait and watch.