With the news about Edge switching to a foundation using Chromium a lot of the conversation has centered on browser engines slipping into something of a monoculture. I believe these fears are coming from a good place – a monoculture certainly is not desirable, and a persistent challenge from competitors keeps tech at its best. Compounding this news was also a link floating around stating that Mozilla Firefox was staring at a market share of below 9%. What gives me pause, however, is that much of the advocacy for Firefox seems to stem from the fact that it’s not Chrome. The pure logic of such a strategy is clear, but is it particularly convincing as a technique?Speaking more broadly for a moment, we as a society apply a lot of pressure on people to do stuff – to save the planet, and make the world a better place, and all the rest of it. Much of it is advocated through what I would describe as almost ‘fear-based’ language – kind of “do x or y will happen” type scenarios. To be fair, much of it is set up that way. There’s no real selfish benefit to e.g recycling, its pretty much about the altruism. In fact, if you read the news, the stakes are pretty high it would seem. For me, the conversation around Firefox strays too close to these heavy ultimatums. I think this kind of conversation is naturally fatiguing, and creates a particularly negative means of ushering new users into the platform – almost as hostages, rather than excited participants. It’s time we analyse what Firefox does better than Chrome, and sing those praises. For instance, it’s arguably easier to avoid tracking with Firefox if that’s your speed. I’m sure there are other things – does Firefox beat Chrome out for speed? Or is it better featured in some areas? Perhaps Firefox is lacking things; I’ve been using WebSockets a lot recently, and Chrome’s frame-by-frame view of a WebSocket connection is invaluable. As far as I’m aware, Firefox doesn’t have this (yet). These aren’t concrete suggestions, but maybe ideas of where the conversation can go. I think about Chrome’s usurping of Internet Explorer (IE), and I wonder (antitrust and all aside) would Chrome have usurped IE if it wasn’t for IE stagnating? I remember when I was younger and jumped ship to Chrome – personally, it wasn’t about using Chrome because it wasn’t IE, it was about Chrome beating IE in a foot race and offering me a clean user experience. Firefox is a fantastic browser, and the need to grow its market share is more pressing than ever. By making people excited to use Firefox rather than wary of using Chrome, I believe we can more effectively galvanise support for Firefox, and improve the health of the browser ‘market’ all round.
So if you live in Vietnam and use Grab, you’re probably aware that they recently ditched GrabPay (their internal payment gateway) for a 3rd party, Vietnamese based solution. While that didn’t come as a surprise since they were pressured by our government for a while already, what did come as a surprise is their choice of provider: Moca.I thought for sure they were misspelling Momo or something, as it stands they are the largest digital wallet app in Vietnam as we speak, and is an obvious choice if you’re looking for a service like that. Surely Grab, a multi billion dollar company wouldn’t choose a non established name right? But nah, they gonna go with Moca, a name most people have never even heard before in their life. But that’s ok, competition is always good for the end users, provided that the competition is, well, competitive. Let’s go ahead and check them out. A quick google search bring me to their homepage: Ok that’s a little alarming. But surely you can’t judge a mobile app by the absolutely pitiful look of their desktop website. So let’s fire up Grab and check out the real thing: Sorry for this rant again. I’m okay with beta software being buggy, I’m very much not ok with production software that millions people use on a daily basis being buggy.
So as I was watching the official announcement of Flutter 1.0, I once again notice that all of their typographic designs used in their product used that same font: Product Sans. It’s slick, I have to have it.
Unfortunately the only thing that Google has on its official website is basically a short message saying ‘Nah, you can’t have it, mofo’
But in all my years as a graphic designer, I’ve never let something as trivial as a licensing statement from a multi-billion dollar company deter me from trying to get my sticky fingers on the font.
So here we are: