Now that I’ve grown to love it, I couldn’t imagine working without tabbed browsing. In the early years of the public internet I was sated by the simple fact that I had access to so much information – digesting the concept of a browser took time. Now I’m like many people out there, navigating windows crammed with tabs, jumping between applications and trying to find time for everything (while not getting distracted).
Reading this Register article got me thinking. It’s about Japanese software company NTT’s plans for an October release of SpaceBrowser, its three-dimensional web browser, which, at $275, claims to be able to render IE information in three dimensions:
Looking at the above screenshot, its easy to think of Exposé, a feature introduced in the latest version of Mac OS X:
With two Macs at home, I occasionally using Exposé, but, perhaps surprisingly, I typically forget about it and simply do a homemade organizing job, layering browser windows and clicking back and forth between them. When it comes time to move between applications, I simply do so using command-tab, which brings up a semi-transparent bar at the center of the screen and allows you to move between icons of currently open applications. I know I’m living two lives when I use these new features while falling back on old habits – I’m stacking windows that are now full of tabs!
These new ways of navigating through all of this information are a great new way of looking at the browsing experience, whether on the internet, your home computer or in corporate environments (think project management). Curiously, I think an element of this entire movement that’s easily overlooked is this: this stuff wouldn’t stand a chance without the increased prevalence of larger computer screens. Thinking back to the days of a 15″ monitor, I couldn’t imagine trying to effectively navigate through shrunken application windows floating in simulated 3D. Nowadays, I find a monitor less than 19″ completely undesirable (laptops excluded, of course).
Anyone care to comment on SpaceBrowser’s worth (or lack thereof)?