Google on Safes, Prisoners and Locks

Chrome1When I installed Windows 7 and Snow Leopard lately, the progress bars must have been progressing too slowly. I was wondering what I was doing and I asked myself what the operating system actually was good for in times when one can do almost everything online (apart from running the computer, of course). According to Google the new operating system will be like a browser. Driven by spirit of the web, one could expect Google not to “protect” their users behind medieval walls or in castles. Yet in the famous comic strips by Scott McCloud that was announcing Google’s new browser, one can find suprisingly many classics of depicted safety.

On page 2 product manager Ian Fette says that browsers as such “need to be more secure.” He proceeds: “Given what’s known about browser exploits, browsers need architectural changes to disadvantage malware.” Saying so, he stands in front of a big safe. This promise of a safe browser is consolidated by the casual crossing of his arms; and by his glasses that contribute to his (and the company’s) competence.

Chrome2Ian Fette tells us more about malware in chapter four, page 25. On the right-hand side of the page, the shocked reader (or future user) can see how a masked criminal reaches from inside the user’s screen onto the actual keyboard—alarming! Apparently he escaped from prison lately, because he is still in prisoner’s garb. In the background one can see an angler. A casted fish with a dollar sign serves as baitfish for the criminal. The caption reads “Malware is very financially driven. It is all about stealing passwords and moving money around.”

On page 37 another classic depiction of safety comes in—the lock. Usually the lock is used to visualize encrypted connections, passwords or safety as such. Yet Google makes use of the somewhat restricted connotation of the lock and uses it as a symbol for proprietary software. The head of Chris DeBona turns into a lock. Unhappily he states “Sure. We could ship a proprietary browser and hold it in.” Freed from the lock and standing on the classic internet visualization (a cloud consisting of ones and zeros) he continues: “But Google lives on the internet.” Reminding us that without competition there is stagnation and that Google really is not evil and actually needs the internet to be “a fair, smart, safe place”, he opens the lock. What a gesture.

This entry was posted in Competence, GUI, Locks and Keys, Print, Safes, Solidity, Web and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

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