in Black Folk

Blackbird browser and its discontents

There is a pretty big hullabaloo over at TechCrunch about the Blackbird web browser. It’s made by a company calling themselves 40A.

According to its makers, the Blackbird browser is:

Blackbird was developed on the simple proposition that we, as the African American community, can make the Internet experience better for ourselves and, in doing so, make it better for everyone. Primarily we believe that the Blackbird application can make it easier to find African American related content on the Internet and to interact with other members of the African American community online by sharing stories, news, comments and videos via Blackbird.

I downloaded the browser and surfed with it for about 30 minutes before deleting it. It looks like a cluttered Firefox install with a bad theme attached to it. The UI wasn’t intuitive and it’s not a particularly useful product, but I suspect they’ll grow it because there will be folks who know nothing about the audience this company is targeting and will believe what they’re told about the so-called needs of black web surfers.

I can’t imagine it being useful for an entry-level user, either. I won’t bother with a full blown review, because that’s been done already.

The whining at TechCrunch via the comments are kinda silly. You have a bunch of folks ranting and raving over the merit of this project’s existence, rather than debating it on its flimsy technical merits. The point isn’t whether there ought to be a browser that purports to reach black Americans, it’s whether said browser is 1) any good and 2) actually manages to be what it says it wants to be.

The PR they’ve received, mixed or not, has probably helped them more than anything else they’ve done to date. The techies who are arguing about it, simply aren’t the demographic the Blackbird founders are seeking out anyway. They want non-technical folks who listen to a particular segment of radio and might be inclined to visit certain sites they’re peddling.

It’s nothing to get too worked up about, because it’s not good or bad enough to really matter.

  1. In my honest opinion, this browser just serves to give a few black people some green, while housing or encasing the black population.

    There are a ton of themes for firefox that could be considered “black” i guess, which would be what I’d recommend to the black community…customize and theme what you use to your liking.

    I’m white, us soldier, pagan and don’t judge you at all…until something happens. Like when a white/black man attempts to steal something or hurt someone…then I’ll judge that person…that person alone.

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