It occurred to me a few days ago when my Chromebook went through yet another software update that I have absolutely no idea what version number I’m currently using.
35.0.1916.47 beta, apparently. I just looked it up. But the reality is it’s not really relevant. My phone is running Android version 4.4.2, but again I had to look that up – I know it’s also known as “Kit Kat” in Google’s ridiculous dessert/marketing tie-in policy of Android version naming.
When it comes to the services I use day in, day out, I have no idea if they even have version numbers for Twitter or LinkedIn or Facebook or Google Drive or OneDrive or any of the myriad other Cloud and App-based services that I use on a daily basis. For those, change isn’t a big lump – it’s an ever-ongoing process of incremental and larger lumps of change.
That’s got it’s downside. Constant change isn’t particularly User Experience-friendly. And it also makes it a bugger to market something new if something new is happening every five minutes. Big version numbers form milestones around which users and suppliers can pin their hats when it comes to handling change.
I wonder, though, if old-school and new-school technology can be differentiated like this, though? Something’s of the new generation if version numbers aren’t mentioned or fixated upon. Apple, Microsoft, Google (in parts), Oracle and so on are of the old-school.
There again, in the world of automobiles, some manufacturers stick to numbers and letters to identify their products (Mazda, Volvo, Citroen), others (Ford, Nissan, Renault) use (often made up) names. Maybe it’s just a sign of the underlying culture of the companies producing them…