I’ve fallen in love with Google Chrome in most ways. Not that Chrome’s anything extra, it’s rather that it’s not.
Everything is slimmed down, it’s super fast and it feels like it got less than half of both the competitors GUI (in a good sense) and their settings.
One of the best things about Chrome is the sense of versions. Background: I grew up with IE6, which still harasses my workplace’s usage statistics, the same app that MS doesn’t bother getting rid of (maybe they do, but as far as I know, they’ve yet to implement the subtle updating process of Chrome in IE 9).
Except being a wonder for us developers, the hidden update is good because:
- You’ll never see the “Your app has been updated, please restart it/your system”. Take a minute and realize exactly how important this is to avoid if you’re targeting anything but a techie crowd. At best, you’ll annoy users, at worst you just lost them.
- No compatibility issues for the user (since developers are responsible for serving only the latest version).
- Your app challenges your competitors app. Your competitors app has to challenge both you and earlier versions of itself. This could be applied to the cellphone industry where most companies release every.. I don’t even know, it’s ridiculous.
- The release pattern is used successfully in web based apps. The web as a medium has won much simply by being able to provide background updates - new layouts can be pushed right away (don’t even get me started on ajax).
- If an update is seamless and invisible, you could make a rollback seamless and invisible.
- Minor changes are pushed out more easily, a hotfix could take 15 seconds to download but make a large part of your users more satisfied with your app.