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7/28/2009
07:36 PM
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I Want To See Firefox 7.0

The Mozilla Foundation has revealed some possible interface changes that might come with Firefox 4.0. The fiddling with tab placement and button functionality is probably smart, but it certainly isn't visionary. I want to see the future.

The Mozilla Foundation has revealed some possible interface changes that might come with Firefox 4.0. The fiddling with tab placement and button functionality is probably smart, but it certainly isn't visionary. I want to see the future.The auto industry always gets the vision thing right. Every year's car show schedule promotes concept cars, from the possible to the crazy. Sometimes, designers are given carte blanche to simply create what if transportation ideas, while other times the vehicles include ideas that could find their way into production versions.

The point isn't that the concepts are right (in fact, they're most often gloriously wrong, and tend to look silly and quaint in retrospect). Concept cars are cool, and they get consumers engaged in envisioning the future, almost as if they're a part of developing it.

In the technology world, this sort of thing sort of happens at various trade shows, but it's not often accessible to laypeople, and it usually focuses on what's right around the corner. Development happens between developers, however the source is qualified as open. Actually messing with code isn't the same thing as fantasizing that you're George Jetson flying a personal hovercraft.

Worse, lots of technology products (hardware and software) get introduced to consumers with an explicit declaration that the future has arrived. The gizmo is new, the software improved. But I suspect we human beings want our future to always be in the future; when it arrives in the present, it just doesn't have the same brand value or promise.

So give us glimpses of the evolution from 3.7 to 4.0, but why not engage with consumers on the punctuated equilibrium leaps that might be in the offing?

Jonathan Salem Baskin writes the Dim Bulb blog and is the author of Branding Only Works On Cattle.

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