What’s in a name?

Everyone and his dog his talking about Chrome. I’m probably not going to try it anytime soon: there is no Mac version for the time being, and Chromium is supported on spotted Macs only (yours truly is still striped and happy about it), but I can see exciting times ahead.

What I find pretty odd is how no one on my radar bothered to comment about how Chrome is a poor choice for a name, given how the same term has been used extensively for a key part of XUL, the UI toolkit behind Mozilla/Firefox. Chrome is so relevant to Mozilla that it even became a URL scheme, and I find hard to believe no one at Google was aware of potential name clashes.

I guess the humongous amount of money the Mozilla Foundation are getting through Google is going to make things easier, but I can’t see how that can be a good name that doesn’t piss Mozilla fans off. Does anyone remember how Firefox had to change name twice due to trademark issues and general brouhaha from the Firebird open source database community? History repeating itself, methinks, but it would be fun to see the Mozilla Foundation sending a Cease & Desist letter to Google, footing the bill with Google’s own money.

On an unrelated note, however, I’m just flabbergasted about big G’s marketing technique and tactics. I won’t believe even for a split second in the leaked email story, but I can definitely see how using comics was pure genius. I couldn’t say it any better than Bertrand:

Using graphics to explain stuff is obviously the best way, but the dynamics of the cartoon format (varying image sizes to emphasize importance, repetition of similar patterns and shapes to create a familiar universe in small steps) go much further than just combining images and descriptions. Not to mention the fun factor in reading it – everybody knows that people learn better when fun is involved.

I’m convinced – we need more of this to explain our often complex software systems.

Now excuse me while I go find a designer to write our next pitches as comic books…



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