It never ceases to amaze me how demanding we can be as IT users and early adopters; to put a twist to the Queen lyric we want it all and we want it now!
We have gone beyond just having an opinion and have all become armchair experts in just about everything – it’s no longer just reserved for sports fans thinking they can manage their team better than the “incompetent muppet” standing on the sidelines.
We feel that we can design things and suggest features better than those getting paid to do the job. In some cases users do have valid points and companies have used customer suggestions to improve their products but we should never lose sight of the fact that we are just one person and the designers and developers are catering for the needs of millions. What might be right for you may not be right for some (hmm, wasn’t that in the Different Strokes theme song?)
So, when a new product gets released in beta when does helpful, constructive criticism go too far and border of the realms of being over demanding?
Take Google Chrome for example.
Now I’m not going to remark on the feature set or the pros and cons of the fledgling browser as many others have already done that and better than I could (although I must admit that I like where Google are coming from) but I would like to comment on the reactions and expectations that are being thrown around the web.
Yes, this is Google and we should expect big things – in some respects I think we already have them, but we must never lose sight of the fact that Chrome is just a first beta; it’s an artists sketch before committing to getting the brushes dirty.
The first beta of Chrome has laid the foundations and put down some very good groundwork which will be fleshed out and perfected over the course of development so statements like “Chrome Not Ready For Enterprise” are pointless.
Of course it’s not and no-one should be suggesting otherwise.
Chrome will not be ready for enterprise for quite a while and will not be considered for enterprise use for even longer – at least in any enterprise with any integrity and a decent IT infrastructure. There are many more factors at play that just the features built in to the browser.
An enterprise environment will have procedures in place to test and approve any new software prior to deployment – beta software will never be considered. Not only do you have potential security or data corruption issues but you must also consider the reputation of your company. How would it look if you were connecting to third party services to access and manipulate sensitive data using an incomplete product? Not only would you tarnish your reputation but you would most likely be kicked off the service.
All we are saying…
Give Chrome a chance. Give any new product or service that comes out as beta a chance and stop making ridiculous demands of something which is, by definition, just a work in progress. This is what beta is all about regardless of who is behind it.
First look reviews and constructive criticism should be encouraged but outlandish statements and ridiculous demands get us nowhere.
A public beta is just the external face of a project and there will be a lot more going on behind the scenes both in terms of advancements of the technology involved and where the project is heading. As I have mentioned in the past, just because a company hasn’t said they will be doing X, Y or Z doesn’t mean it isn’t already on the table; you don’t want to give away all your secrets too early. You may not be able to deliver on all your promises (remember the Longhorn saga) so under promise and over deliver but, more importantly, you don’t want to give too much of a heads up to the competition.