A web browser, to put it simply, is an application used to access information and move around the world wide web. Without a web browser, you’re stuck. Also, with a browser, you can only do as much as it’s equipped to handle. There are many browsers out there and some may not be known to the general public. For example, some browsers are for specific functions that the average computer user would never find the need for.
First Browser NEXUS in 1990
The first web browser was called World Wide Web, and later the name was changed to Nexus. Created by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, it was released in 1990, and now gave people a basic way to view web pages. However, it was a long way from the immersive online experience we have today.
The first popular graphical browser, Mosaic
Mosaic was released in 1992. It was easy to install and easy to use, as well as reliable and capable of displaying images in line with text, rather than in a separate window. Mosaic replaced the text prompt-based system used before and gave us the browser bar, back and forward buttons, and graphic interactivity. Since then, the basic foundation and user experience has been built on Mosaic’s initial structure.
While the merit of a particular browser depends on the needs of the user, there are indisputable facts about each web browsing application that establish their value. Based on factors such as capability, ease of use, speed, and more, here are the current web browsers used around the world:
6. Internet Explorer / Edge
There was a time when Microsoft’s Internet Explorer ruled the world. This doesn’t mean everyone liked it, but Microsoft’s firm commitment to the web browser meant it made its way onto most computers. Microsoft was at the forefront of the internet revolution with the launch of Internet Explorer in 1995, allowing users to surf the rudimentary world wide web. Between 2002 and 2003, around 95 per cent of web users used it as their primary means to access web pages as more of the world gained internet access.
But the decline of internet explorer started to happen around 2008 and onwards. In fact, i.e. struggled to compete with its rival Google’s Chrome browsers. Google Chrome launched in 2004 and 2008 respectively, as internet users increasingly began using operating systems which did not support Internet Explorer. Along with the increase in browser rivals, the introduction of internet browsing on Android and iOS smart phones lead to even more rivalries. Microsoft was slow to adapt to the smartphone audience and began to lose the once loyal customers it had obtained at the beginning of the internet revolution.
Internet Explorer had long held onto its dominance by being the default web browser on desktops. But mobile devices do not rely on Internet Explorer any more.
In 2009, Opera exploded in Eastern Europe. In terms of aesthetics, Opera would be first on this list, but where it truly shined was on mobile devices. A key area with Opera is that it keeps personal information secure. The browser also has a function that reroutes your web traffic to the Opera servers after compressing it and reducing the transfer of data to increase browsing speeds and maneuver around firewalls. This feature makes Opera the best web browser for users on a computer with less RAM or CPU computing power. Add ad blocking and a power saving mode to the mix and you’ve got a strong contender for best browser on the web.
4. Mozilla Firefox
In 2010, Firefox steals Opera’s thunder. Firefox offers users a wide variety of extensions with built-in support for Hello, its own video chat service, and Pocket, its own bookmarking and read-it-later service. Speed is another plus for Firefox users, as well as regular updates every six weeks. It is a powerful browser but over the years updates have struggled to keep up with changes. However, Firefox is still a solid choice for modern internet users.
3. UC Browser
Mobile users in India favor a Chinese app for browsing, with almost 1 in 3 in mobile users in India using China’s UC Browser, developed by Chinese firm UCWeb. The company’s first product started as a BlackBerry Messenger type of service called UCMail. Unfortunately, it didn’t take off. The team was quick to realize that people weren’t using UCMail. Rather, they wanted an application that could help them browse the web. So, in 2004, UCMail rebranded to UCWeb, which stands for “U Can Web”, to be a full-fledged mobile browser.
The browser features a modern, easy to user interface and features such as caching video for offline viewing. This itself is an excellent feature in India, as not all mobile users have access to fast downloads, either because of their network, data plan, or device itself. Furthermore, the UC Browser did win the best browser of the year award for 2011 and 2012. In fact, the growth in India is so strong that UC Web has recorded a 60 times growth within India. But, UC Browser allegedly leaked data of Indian users during 2017, and could face ban. Regardless UCWeb is a subsidiary of Alibaba Group, and has launched an e-commerce service in India. India and China usage alone together has a huge potential for UCWeb!
Safari is best known as the browser for Apple products ranging from the iPod and iPhone to Mac Pros. The biggest selling point for Safari is that it’s lightning fast. It uses much less battery life than Google Chrome or Firefox, that apple product users value. Like Firefox, it has built-in read-it-later capability. While it’s widely thought that Safari is only available on Apple products, it can be used on Windows, as well.
1. Google Chrome
In 2008, Chrome sneaked into the scene. Chrome is currently the most popular web browser in the world. While that can be due in part to the global omnipresence of Google, it is also due to the fact that Chrome is a powerhouse of a web browser. This is why it is often declared the best web browser on the market. Extensions are easily added and used to expand the capability of the browser, it works across a wide range of platforms, and is an incredibly stable and reliable application. More importantly, many web developers and web design agencies tend to rely on Google Chrome’s reliability. Also, It’s easily modified, with easy to navigate parental controls and endlessly customizable options to personalize Chrome for your use.
Google is often referred to as “the search company”, and online marketers as well as SEO experts rely on this platform. However, search is not the only area that Google excels in. Today, Chrome controls almost the entire world, it has taken a dominating role in many countries. In the European browser market, Chrome and Firefox have established strong market positions.
Chrome is the default web browser on all Android devices. Safari is on all Apple Macs and iOS devices. As more and more internet users are on mobile devices other browsers will find it a challenge in gaining market shares.
Takeaway on Browsers
Chromes ability to provide Android phones was a strategic approach. This leap allowed Google to corner the market when it came to being a leader in Browsers. Compared to Firefox and Internet Explorer, there is simply no threatening competition. In fact, the influence of mobile based internet usage has only made it difficult for less prominent browsers to compete.
But with Alibaba and its presence, this could possibly create be a shift in browser usage. Especially with China’s and India’s population far exceeding other countries!