Most of the vision of the Web for 2008 seems to be coming true, which means it was either highly portent or most likely, already advent. I’ll do a full round up at the end of the year, but in the meantime let me game the game by pimping one of the laggards: Site Specific Browsers. In the prediction, I cited Prism and Fluidapp already, which in essence build a browser for a single site, giving you a separate icon in your taskbar. Then there are the full sized widgets, applications dedicated to reskinning a site Mailplane for reading SPAM, eBay desktop for finding scammers and Twiteriffic for frittering your life away.
All fine and dandy, but wasn’t really what I was getting at. A few months ago. A friend, who shall remain nameless, was showing me something cool on his laptop. As he typed the web address into Safari I remarked on the risk of, ahem, interesting URIs dropping down, to which he joked “don’t worry, I always use Firefox to surf for pr0n”. That joke revealed two great user stories:
- Firstly, performing all your internet banking in a Site Specific Browser is a great idea if that browser is tied to a single bank’s site and sandboxes your passwords, cookies, cache and history from other instances of the browser or widgets.
- Secondly, a “Task” or “Subject Specific Browser”, an instance of your current browser you flag for researching “butterflies”, Muppet Death Metal, or whatever, which then collects a compartmentalised subject specific cache and history for later mining, or cleansing, would be useful. Really useful.
Do such things already exist? Yes or no, expect them to be big!