The Internet is growing fast
The Internet and Social Media is now a part of our everyday life. There are over 4.39 billion internet users reported in 2019. This is an increase of 9 percent compared with January 2018. There are 3.48 billion users connected to various Social Media platforms worldwide total growing by 288 million (9 percent) since this time last year. One way or another everyone uses web browsers to surf the Internet daily across many devices. Therefore browsers play a pivotal role in shaping the world we see everyday.
In this article, we tried to be comprehensive by providing details and facts without jumping into conclusions with short pros and cons. Therefore, sometimes you may find this lengthy. You are free to skip any part if you feel like they are irrelevant to you, refer our contents table above for the outline.
If we quickly summarize the contents you are going to read, it will look like below.
- few terms misunderstood by many (Internet & WWW, Browser & Search Engine),
- browser market share,
- the history of browsers,
- browser evolution,
- current trends,
- feature comparison and
Internet usage by different platforms
The below table shows the top 10 platforms in use as of July 2019 worldwide. Use the Search box to filter a particular platform at your convenience to read.
Top 10 Platforms (July, 2019)
# Platform % 1 Windows 10 16.35 2 Windows 7 13.94 3 Android 8 12.07 4 iOS 12 10.25 5 Android 9 9.80 6 Android 6 6.76 7 Android 7 6.51 8 Android 5 4.98 9 Mac OS X 3.66 10 Windows 8 2.27
By looking at these numbers we find Android dominates 40.12% of the market share, while Microsoft Windows having 32.56% and Apple 13.91%.
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The Internet vs World Wide Web (WWW)
Many confused with the term the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) and assume both are same. Actually, they are two different terms. The Internet is a global network of networks which can be referred to as the infrastructure while the World Wide Web (WWW) is a collection of related information accessed via the Internet.
The Internet is a global network of networks which can be referred to
as theinfrastructure while the World Wide Web (WWW) is a collection of related information accessed via the Internet.
Why the internet is mostly referred to as the Web?
The World Wide Web consists of a huge collection of related resources interconnected with something called hyperlinks. The hyperlinks are in simple terms a link or a reference to data that the reader can follow by a click. Hyperlinks can point within a document or outside the document connecting one another internally and externally. Because of this
The hyperlinks are in simple terms a link or a reference to data that the reader can follow by a click.
How do we access the Web?
We use Web Browsers or Search Engines to access information resources on the WWW. The Search Engine is a service that allows Internet users to search for content via the World Wide Web (WWW). The Well known Google is a search engine. Bing, Yahoo, Baidu are few more popular search engines in the market.
The Well known Google is a search engine.
What are Web Browsers?
Web browsers or shortly browsers are an application interface used for retrieving, presenting and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web (WWW). There is no other way for you to access anything on the World Wide Web without Browsers. If you are not sure about what you are searching you can use a Search Engine to do that work.
Web Browsers vs Search Engines
This is another area most users get confused. By the word itself denotes Browsers are made to Browse (Access or Surf) information while Search Engines are made to search specific words or terms in the Search Engine’s Database. To understand these two concepts more easily refer to the table below.
Web Browser Search Engine Does not require search engines Requires Web Browsers to run Access Web pages and sites Searches and filters websites Application locally installed Application running on he Internet Ex: Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Safari, etc. Ex: Google, Yahoo, Bing, NATE, DuckDuckGo, etc.
Having said that, it’s obvious that Web browsers play a major role today. So it comes the next question, what is the best browser to use? Let’s explore deeper to understand what these browsers are and how they got evolved before we dig into our main question. If you want to skip this section click here to jump into the Latest Browsers section. Otherwise keep reading.
Brief history of browsers
The Father of Internet, Tim Berners-Lee is credited with developing both the first web server and the first web browser in 1990, called WorldWideWeb (no spaces) and later renamed Nexus.
Thereafter Browsers evolved faster, adding speed and capabilities as the technology grew. The below table shows how Browsers evolved from 1990 till to-date. Use the Search box to filter a particular year at your convenience to read.
Year Web browsers 1991 WorldWideWeb (Nexus) 1992 ViolaWWW, Erwise, MidasWWW, MacWWW (Samba) 1993 Mosaic, Cello, Lynx 2.0, Arena, AMosaic 1.0 1994 IBM WebExplorer, Netscape Navigator, SlipKnot 1.0, MacWeb, IBrowse, Agora (Argo), Minuet 1995 Internet Explorer 1, Internet Explorer 2, Netscape Navigator 2.0, OmniWeb, UdiWWW, Grail 1996 Arachne 1.0, Internet Explorer 3.0, Netscape Navigator 3.0, Opera 2.0, PowerBrowser 1.5, Cyberdog, Amaya 0.9, AWeb, Voyager 1997 Internet Explorer 4.0, Netscape Navigator 4.0, Netscape Communicator 4.0, Opera 3.0, Amaya 1.0 1998 iCab, Mozilla 1999 Amaya 2.0, Mozilla M3, Internet Explorer 5.0 2000 Konqueror, Netscape 6, Opera 4, Opera 5, K-Meleon 0.2, Amaya 3.0, Amaya 4.0 2001 Internet Explorer 6, Galeon 1.0, Opera 6, Amaya 5.0 2002 Netscape 7, Mozilla 1.0, Phoenix 0.1, Links 2.0, Amaya 6.0, Amaya 7.0 2003 Opera 7, Apple Safari 1.0, Epiphany 1.0, Amaya 8.0 2004 Firefox 1.0, Netscape Browser, OmniWeb 5.0 2005 Opera 8, Apple Safari 2.0, Netscape Browser 8.0, Epiphany 1.8, Amaya 9.0, AOL Explorer 1.0, Maxthon 1.0, Shiira 1.0 2006 Mozilla Firefox 2.0, Internet Explorer 7, Opera 9,, SeaMonkey 1.0, K-Meleon 1.0, Galeon 2.0, Camino 1.0, Avant 11, iCab 3 2007 Apple Safari 3.0, Maxthon 2.0, Netscape Navigator 9, NetSurf 1.0, Flock 1.0, Conkeror 2008 Google Chrome 1, Mozilla Firefox 3, Opera 9.5,, Apple Safari 3.1, Konqueror 4, Amaya 10.0, Flock 2, Amaya 11.0 2009 Google Chrome 2-3, Mozilla Firefox 3.5, Internet Explorer 8, Opera 10, Apple Safari 4, SeaMonkey 2, Camino 2, surf, Pale Moon 3.0 2010 Google Chrome 4-8, Mozilla Firefox 3.6, Opera 10.50, Opera 11, Apple Safari 5, K-Meleon 1.5.4, xxxterm 2011 Google Chrome 9-16, Mozilla Firefox 4-9, Internet Explorer 9, Opera 11.50, Apple Safari 5.1, Maxthon 3.0, SeaMonkey 2.1-2.6 2012 Google Chrome 17-23, Mozilla Firefox 10-17, Internet Explorer 10, Opera 12, Apple Safari 6, Maxthon 4.0, SeaMonkey 2.7-2.14 2013 Google Chrome 24-31, Mozilla Firefox 18-26, Internet Explorer 11, Opera 15-18, Pale Moon 15.4-24.2.2, Apple Safari 7, SeaMonkey 2.15-2.23 2014 Google Chrome 32-39, Mozilla Firefox 27-34, Opera 19-26, Pale Moon 24.3.0-25.1.0, Apple Safari 8, SeaMonkey 2.24-2.30 2015 Google Chrome 40-47, Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox 35-43, Opera 27-34, Pale Moon 25.2.0-25.8.1, Vivaldi 2016 Google Chrome 48-55, Mozilla Firefox 44-50, Microsoft Edge 14, Opera 35-42, Pale Moon 26.0.0-27.0.3, Apple Safari 10, SeaMonkey 2.24-2.30 2017 Google Chrome 56-60, Microsoft Edge 15, Mozilla Firefox 51-55.0.2, Opera 43-45, Opera Neon, Pale Moon 27.1.0-27.6.2, Basilisk 2018 Pale Moon 27.7.0-28.2.2
The Latest Browsers
Today the major players are Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Edge. According to W3Counter’s browser stats for July 2019, the following chart illustrates these Browser’s market share.
Rise and fall of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer
In the early, and mid-90s Netscape Navigator and the Internet Explorer were popular among Microsoft Windows users. Later on, Microsoft packaged Internet Explorer together with their own Windows Operating System which made headlines across the world but they managed to seal their dominance in the Browser market.
Opera and Mozilla (later renamed as FireFox which itself grew out of the same source code of Netscape Communicator) Browsers fought well enough with speed and enhanced features driving users out from Internet Explorer to these new Browsers. FireFox once emerged surpassing Internet Explorer but later on lost and lagging behind Internet Explorer & Edge.
Emergence of Google Chrome
The Google Search Engine launched on 15 September 1997 and the Chrome Browser on 2 September 2008. With the emergence of Google and Chrome, Internet Explorer failed to secure its market share anymore. On the other hand, Safari survived being the leading browser for Mac, while FireFox and Chrome also used widely by Apple users.
Evolution of Mobile Browsers
Smartphones are being used by many to surf the internet. Google placed it’s own Chrome Browser in Android phones while the Safari being the default browser in Apple IOS devices. Apart from these two, FireFox, Opera, Edge, and many other competitors are in the mobile market. UC Browser, Samsung Internet, Dolphin, Puffin, FireFox Focus (Privacy Browser), Opera Mini are few to mention.
Browser Feature Comparison
Comparison of market share is one side of the story. A Browser is being used by many doesn’t qualify to be the best Browser. Let’s have a deeper insight by comparing their features, capabilities, speed, and security options to measure correctly.
Here’s how it breaks down into the Top 10 browsers, showing the versions used. You can notice Edge or Opera didn’t even make it to the list. Worth to mention that Microsoft announces two months back that they are rebuilding the next version of Microsoft Edge, built on the Chromium open-source project.
Except for Internet Explorer, other Browsers provides the facility to sync your data across your devices allowing your bookmarks, logins
Many Browsers provide Addons or extensions to improve capabilities. There are thousands of Addons or extensions
Are there any other good Web Browsers?
Chromium is a free and open-source web browser developed by Google through its Chromium Project. It is a fully functional browser on its own and supplies the vast majority of source code for the Google Chrome browser. While both the Chrome and Chromium have noticeable differences, many variants from Chromium has emerged recently due to its robust source code and architecture. Namely, Avast Secure Browser, Brave and even latest release of the Microsoft Edge is based on Chromium.
Chromium OS is another initiative under Google’s Chromium project. Chromium OS is an open-source project that aims to provide a fast, simple, and more secure computing experience for people who spend most of their time on the web. The Google’s revolutionary Chromebook is powered by Chromium OS.
A Chromium-based Browser by popular Anti-virus software maker. Though it’s Chromium-based it brings default security and privacy features enabled. They provide a build-in VPN, video downloader to download Youtube videos, bank mode, password manager and malware protection and other tools. Initially they bundled it with their paid Anti-virus subscriptions but later Mar 2016 they bundled it with the free version as well.
SeaMonkey is a free and open-source Internet suite. It is the continuation of the former Mozilla Application Suite, based on the same source code, which itself grew out of Netscape Communicator and formed the base of Netscape 6 and Netscape 7.
Another Chromium variant developed by Brave Software, Inc. Mainly this Browsers blocks Ads and website trackers to speed up browsing and to save data usage.
In conclusion, unlike in the past, there are much more alternatives available in the market. Almost all of them are provided free and it has strengthened the competition further into another dimension. The fact is, everyone tends to use at least two or more Browsers at the same time based on their taste or specific reason.
Selecting the best Browser is solely depends on your requirements, your platform, cross-platform compatibility, security, and performance. The Browser market is huge and it’s growing rapidly every day focusing on different factors by each developer.
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