As the internet continues to expand, tech giants like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others continue to fight for their spots as leaders in not just technology, but the innovation that drives it. Typically, innovation itself has always been seen as only being a good thing. After all, newly defined ideas in fields like medical science enable humans to live longer, happier, healthier lives. Likewise, Innovative ideas in technology have paved the way to more fuel efficient automobiles, a now mobile world, and a faster, yet more capable internet. These are but a few examples of how world societies have positively benefited from advancements in modern day technologies. But, as you're about to see, when it comes to innovation in information technology, some have taken the concept way too far!
Today, tech conglomerates are now innovating so much, and forcing changes on the industry at such a high rate, that the technology being implemented today is almost obsolete by tomorrow. The problem is, too much change, too fast, creates headaches for those who traverse the web, and those who build for it too.
As a first example, Google recently redesigned their social network for the second time in less than 3 years, of which both times the changes implemented were met with widely unfavorable criticism by the network's social masses; not to mention the current redesigned user interface makes no logical sense (about sections of communities have been hidden from view, posts are way too large to fit the screen properly on desktop monitors, hangouts removed completely, etc). To make matters worse, with each new redesign rollout, the traffic and engagement levels plummeted across the network, effectively slowing it to a crawl.
What really makes those redesigns concerning is the fact that, neither was even necessary, as any new and improved functionality could have easily been added to the user interface that was already in place, and with the latest redesign Google actually took functionality away. Either way, this is a classic example of how tech companies like Google have angered the web's audiences with unnecessary changes that were far from ever being innovative in any way.
From a user experience perspective, many of Google's latest changes to its network are not only illogical, but a serious problem for those who're visually impaired. Trying to find tiny dots on the screen to edit a single G+ post is hardly user friendly. I have 20/20 vision, and I honestly cannot see them either.
Now, what about Google's webmaster guidelines and ranking algorithms? Here Google tells us to create "Mobile Friendly" websites, yet their own ads aren't responsive or adaptive in anyway. The ads themselves are fixed width and height elements that cannot be rescaled to adapt to the devices they're being displayed on. To make matters worse, they're still preloaded using flash, yet Google insists we should all ditch flash for HTML5 when they can't even do it themselves.
I know, supposedly Google has responsive ads, but coming from a web designer I can assure you they aren't responsive at all. Those supposedly responsive ads can only contract or expand horizontally or vertically, but not in both orientations simultaneously, and the vertical ads cannot contract in width at all. They're a complete joke to say the least, and a waste of time for publishers on the web. Google says to develop for a mobile web, and create a mobile friendly site, yet their own technologies don't support mobile, epic fail.
All being said, Google changes the game every Wednesday it seems, yet they cannot even practice what they preach. As another example of Google's ridiculous recommendations was how they pushed webmasters a few years back to implement absolute links instead of relative ones on their sites, now they insist we should all switch to relative links only, in order to support HTTPS. They tell us one thing, then turn around only to change their minds later. Yet, another example of how Google reinvents the wheel on a whim and expects the world to follow suit.
For instance, Google told bloggers and content publishers to get on board with its Authorship initiative, only to can it later, effectively throwing out the hard work of millions who worked to implement it on their websites; and what about those who spent hours upon hours writing about Authorship, only to realize all that writing was just thrown in the trash!
Now Google is trying push the use of AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), in an effort to increase site speed on mobile devices, and pushing webmasters to implement it now. To be honest, being a web designer myself, I can assure you AMP won't last, and the world should do itself a favor and stop listening to all the nonsense that tech giants like Google try and fill their heads with. As I'm about to explain and you will clearly see, better code does not equate to faster loading sites on slow loading mobile devices.
For the record, AMP is hardly a web standard, it's merely scaled down to nothing code, and it achieves absolutely nothing that can't already be done with standard HTML. Useless! The specification calls for all kinds of ridiculous things, including the in lining of CSS, and it's whole purpose is to gut your site down to nothing so it will load fast. I'm sorry, but I cannot agree that removing 9/10 of a website's functionality is going to somehow improve user experience. As far as Google is concerned we should serve our sites visitors with one line of text and a mostly blank page, and somehow they deem this to be innovative?
And, those who implement this nonsense will be stuck in the same rut they were in when Google canned Authorship. On the other hand, good old fashioned HTML and CSS are standards, and developers should stick to them. If Google can't support the modern standardized web, that's their problem, not yours!
Google insists that websites need to be faster, so page speed is now a ranking factor. They also insist a site should load on mobile in under a second, yet it takes more like a minute to load Google Plus on my Galaxy Tablet.
The problem is, it's not always a website's code that's slow to render, but rather the device that's loading it. What Google and the rest of the information technology world need to get through their thick skulls is that, the reason sites are typically slow to load on mobile is because the devices themselves aren't fast enough to process the data in a timely manner. Regardless of the code at hand, you're still at the mercy of the of the technological capabilities of the devices being used to access the mobile internet.
For instance, I design websites, not mobile devices, processors, or circuit boards, yet Google insists developers and webmasters alike are solely responsible for how fast every mobile device renders our sites, which is total nonsense.
When it comes to speeding up mobile, AMP is a poor excuse for a solution, because the underlying problem with slow loading pages on mobile devices stems from the engineering and manufacturing processes of the mobile devices themselves, and not just the code that's being rendered. AMP doesn't make up for lousy technology, nor will it ever.
All being said, if tech giants want to see a faster mobile web, then it's the engineers of mobile devices they should be taking a closer look at, as they're the ones who're ultimately responsible for the speed at which their devices function.
Not Another Windows OS:
Now, look at the case of Microsoft. Just how many Windows operating systems do we need? You upgrade to Windows 8, blink an eye, and now the world is being pushed to Windows 10. They forced the world to Windows 8, which was not only unnecessary as they could have provided whatever additional functionality they needed right in Windows 7, but the consequences of forcing this useless operating system on the world was disastrous. To make matters worse, they can't even count right! How in the world do you get from 8 to 10?
As a tech support specialist with a decade working on computers, I can solidly say Win8 was the worst operating system I ever worked with, and on every level imaginable. But this didn't stop Microsoft from trying to innovate in new ways by turning everyone's desktops into smart phones (hence the app based layout), and releasing an operating system that was so insecure it got hacked and infected with malware constantly. In fact, I just had the wipe the malware from a clients Windows 8 PC just a few weeks before I wrote this article.
What these tech giant's don't take into consideration as they plan, execute, and roll out their innovative ideas, is how those changes are going to affect those who make use of their modern technological innovations (blunders).
Apple and Google Kill Flash:
Yep, these two tech giants have been on a parade of getting rid of Flash, and browser plugins as a whole. Apple's reasoning is that developing mobile applications in HTML5 is a better choice (definitely is), while Google insists that plugins are bad news, and that Flash suffers from vulnerabilities by hackers.
For the record, Flash rarely ever gets hacked, not nearly as much as platforms like Wordpress, which by the way gets hacked every 10 seconds! Virtually all of Apple's products too have been the victims of malware in recent years, and on a very large scale! Take a look at this article from Lookout.com that talks about how Apple devices were getting infected on a large scale by the malware XcodeGhost, which infected widely popular apps such as WeChat, which was being used by over 600 million users at the time of the malware's discovery.
Here's another one from Tech Crunch that centers on the iOS malware YiSpecter, that automatically downloaded and replaced apps on iOS devices, hammering them with full screen ads, while changing bookmarks and default search engines, along with the fact it sent users private data back to its servers.
I could list a 1,000 more articles about the vulnerabilities surrounding Apple devices, but I'd like to think you got the point.
Yep, you're right Apple, we should all ditch Flash, and while we're at it we should ditch anything developed by you, because every device Apple produces seems to get hammered with malware.
At present, Google seems to be blocking many flash elements across its Chrome browser by default, citing its move away from the reliance of plugins, and that Flash is supposedly unsafe and subject to hackers. So what? I'm sorry, but Google is way overstepping its boundaries by doing so. Users on the web should have the right to decide what they interact with, regardless of Google's personal beliefs. And, as I stated before, Wordpress get's hacked constantly, yet you don't see Google blocking it.
The problem with destroying flash is that, it not only has a historical significance, but browsers ability to stop its use would destroy billions of pieces of software across the web that people still use on a daily basis. The developers of millions of games would be left knowing their creations that are still used tens of millions of times a day across the web would forever be destroyed. While I would agree that HTML5 should be the web developers tool of choice when developing for the modern web, I see no benefit in destroying the internet's history itself.
Either way, I think we all can agree that innovation is a great thing, but not when it's implemented in a manner that turns the internet's users into puppets for tech giant's daily experiments, or when search engines like Google hold webmasters liable for the shortfalls of mobile device engineering.
The unfortunate truth is that, much of the innovation we currently see in the realm of information technology not only takes a step backwards in terms of functionality, but is the result of tech giants like those noted above who're constantly trying to woe an audience with their latest technological capabilities, that actually hinders people's ability to communicate (social networks), do their job (web developers and webmasters), often takes functionality away, rather than improving it (nice how a single Google Plus post practically fills half the screen on my 1920x1080 monitor), and destroys the internet's most prized creations and historical artifacts in the process (many developed in Flash).
Coming up with lame excuses like AMP for web publishing doesn't make up for the technological barriers we see across mobile devices either. It's up to engineers to fix this problem, and not just web developers.
On the other hand, we need innovation in order to excel into the future, and there's always going to be hiccups along the way. Naturally, with change comes problems, and it's something the world should expect when dealing with the ever increasing complexities that modern technology presents. Although, those changes should be made with the intent to be progressive and useful, not destructive and annoying to users, and not made based on personal opinions, but rather with the acknowledgement for those who will make use of such technologies.
In the end, when we think of the word innovation, we think of taking something old and making it better, creating something new, or defining a groundbreaking idea that serves a positive purpose, not destroying everything that already exists. Innovation in information technology itself should be the means to a better web, but unfortunately, the supposedly innovative ideas we see coming from tech giants at present are beyond destructive to say the least.