Silently updating


One of the best features about Google Chrome is how it updates itself to provide new features.

If you look at the user experience of various desktop applications, on one end of the scale would be Google Chrome, and the other end would be Microsoft Windows, which relies on the user to configure that they want updates. In most organisations over 100 people, updates are disabled by system administrators. Other applications such as Spotify sit closer to the “Chrome end” because they automatically update however the user is still prompted during the process.

I’m excluding the stomach-churning “will make data survive this?” iPhone OS upgrades because you can’t compare a complete OS upgrade to an application upgrade.

Every so often, Google Chrome checks to see if you are using the latest version. If you aren’t, it automatically downloads the latest version and installs it. The next time you launch Chrome, you’ll be using the latest version – you won’t have clicked on anything to accept it or install it.

Microsoft have cottoned on to this and the next version of Internet Explorer will silently update the browser by default. You can already install an ‘Update blocker’ to prevent automatic updates if you wish.

This puts Microsoft in an interesting situation because they are still clearly focussed on business users rather than consumers. IT organisations aim to standardise programs on user’s computers so that it’s easier to support them en masse. By choosing such a high profile application to start doing automatic updates, it will be a steep learning curve for both IT organisations and Microsoft.

This all paves the way for staff in large organisations to move a step further along the consumerisation journey. As users [supposedly] get more tech-savvy, they don’t need huge IT service desks for application support. In ten years’ time we’ll be choosing our own technology – mobile phone and laptop, and perhaps even our own applications.

We’ll keep the documents centralised (in ‘The Cloud’) and access them via Google Docs, Office 365 or any other newcomers.

The version of the application we are using won’t make any difference whatsoever.

Photo courtesy of warrenski on Flickr.


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