Just read Bernhard Schindlholzer’s blog post on Google’s interview series that discovered that almost no one knows what a browser is.
A very nice example of an implementation model that isn’t quite in line with the mental model of users.
Users want to catch-up with friends or buy a book online, not use a browser. That’s what makes Opera Unite intriguing. Opera Unite allows you to access your file system through the browser, share photos without uploading, leaving post-its on someone elses computer etc. However, it’s still a browser. Maybe more woven into your desktop but it’s still an application.
I believe that the browser of the future will have to be totally transparent. This will allow users to focus on the tasks at hand and not on the tool. No more cognitive friction. Adaptive Path’s Aurora concept they did for Mozilla is going into this direction. Thinking one step further, we might eventually even come up with a new concept that will replace the now more than 30 year old desktop metaphor for graphical user interfaces on operating systems.