A web browser is an application that connects you with everything that exists on the web. It is this browser, which allows you to visit websites and do plenty of other things on the internet. A more technical description would be that a web browser is software.
It retrieves information from a server and displays it on the window of the browser. This information can be in the form of a web page, image, video, and other content. However, this is just the starting point. You may wonder why different browsers respond to websites differently.
Another question that may surface in your mind is why different browsers exist. These questions would take us through the history and backend of the major web browsers. They include Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari.
Browser wars have happened since the time Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer went up against each other. Both of them wanted to be the best browser of the 1990s. Netscape had dominated the market earlier, but this had changed since the release of Internet Explorer 3. Microsoft had taken the lead. Since it came bundled with the Windows operating system, it had become the standard of many desktops.
This is exactly what happened with the release of Safari in 2003. Earlier, the users of Macintosh were on Netscape Navigator or Internet Explorer. Safari now came pre-installed in Apple’s operating system. This meant that it gained its share of control of the desktop market. After Internet Explorer threw Navigator out of competition, the browser codes were made open source.
They were then handed over to Mozilla by Netscape. When Firefox was introduced in 2004, there was a tremendous rise in its popularity. This continued for a few years until Google Chrome was released in 2008. It rapidly became the favoured browser among internet users, which continues even to this day. In recent times, there has been a significant rise in mobile browsing.
Several mobile browsers came up and HTML5 and CSS3 were introduced. These rapid changes gave rise to browser wars between Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Microsoft Edge. You can feel this competition in the form of frequent browser updates and version releases. Each of these browsers tries to outsmart the other in terms of speed, security, design, and features.
Chrome continues to rule as the best desktop browser even today. Safari has significant ownership in the mobile browsing market. Despite all of this, there is no defined winner in the world of browsers. This is the reason why browser wars still haven’t subsided. Fragmentation is more prevalent today than ever before.
This is primarily owing to the frequent releases of browser versions, updates, and operating systems. Preferences of browsers also depend largely on demographics. This means that age, country, and job profile also play a major role in the choice of browsers. Many schools and corporate organizations have certain requirements about what devices, operating systems, and browsers have to be used.
The browsers are also updating their versions continually in the race to become the next Google Chrome. You just can’t predict which of the browsers would surpass the others in popularity.