Browser Number 1: Netscape.
This browser was the first one I ever used. It was developed in 1994, and was for a time, the most popular browser in the world. It’s market share has steadily fallen since 2000, when it started becoming way too big to be any use to anyone, and was later taken over by AOL. Since then, it has died and disappeared at the age of version 9.
My personal experience with this browser was telling of the terrible effect of Netscape on popular internet, because of its lacking of support for any website, that was in any way complicated or advanced, requiring any effort from the webmaster. Thus, the dot-com bubble burst of the early 2000s was caused by it.
Current Version: 9
Most Notable: No download manager, password manager, form filler, or most of the features we have come to rely on
After, that terrible experience, I decided to switch to the next browser, we did not use it for a long time.
Browser Number 2: Internet Explorer 5.
This browser was released in 1998, as a definite step-up from Netscape. The 1999 review in PC World noted, “Credit the never-ending game of browser one-upsmanship that Netscape and Microsoft play. The new IE 5 trumps Netscape Communicator with smarter searching and accelerated browsing. Overall, it was much better and gained over 80% in its prime-days. It was succeeded by IE6, only 2 years later.
Most Notable: Speedier, faster and better than Netscape
Browser Number 3: Internet Explorer 6.
This browser was the peak of Microsoft’s domination of the internet, with a staggering 97% share. However, for all of its popularity, quite frankly, it was terrible. This version of Internet Explorer is widely derided for its security issues and lack of support for modern web standards, making frequent appearances in “worst tech products of all time” lists, with some publications labeling it as the “least secure software on the planet. The reason behind this rather odd order of business, was the auto-inclusion of this browser into software packages, that some homeowners did not take the time or effort to switch to a different one. However, I did switch and did not come back to the Internet Explorer family for 7 years, since 2001.
Features: 7/10 (No significant improvement over IE5, didn’t even bother changing the icon much)
Market: 97% (20%)
Most Notable: Slight changes from IE5. It was a market-staller, and caused Microsoft’s demise as the sole force in this market.
Browser Number 4: Mozilla Firefox
This next browser, was considered to be the new revolution, when it first appeared. However, if you take a closer look, it was almost an update to the Netscape generation. True, it was revamped, updated and cleaned up, but the basic truth remains. It’s initial release was in 2004. The first version was buggy and glitch but it worked better than IE6 because it did not have the security holes, and had an edge in speed.
Current Version: 3.6
Most Notable: A new contender to Microsoft’s huge empire.
Browser Number 5: Opera
I switched to Opera, after I discovered its benefits over Mozilla Firefox, and the truth behind Mozilla. It was first introduced in 1996, and I jumped onto the bandwagon at version 8. It unfortunately does not have the huge implementation of the previous browsers, although it far outdoes the bunch of them.
It outdoes them in both speed, relative size and most importantly features.
It features Speed Dial, which is a unique feature of Opera, that shows you your favorite websites, complete with live previews. The tab bar, which was unceremoniously copied by Mozilla, is better than any other with options, such as previews, and drop-downs. Overall, it is the most highly customizable and controllable than any other browser. It also now features the Opera Turbo, that significantly increases speed on slow networks, and Opera Unite, which with large implementation could be very interesting. It is possible to control nearly every aspect of the browser using only the keyboard. It is the only major browser to include support for spatial navigation. Opera also includes support for mouse gestures.
Page zooming allows text, images and other content such as Adobe Flash Player, Java platform and Scalable Vector Graphics to be increased or decreased in size (20% to 1,000%) to help those with impaired vision. The user may also specify the fonts and colors for web pages, and even override the page’s CSS styling as well. This can be useful for making sites appear in high contrast or in more readable fonts.
Voice control, co-developed with IBM, allows control of the browser without the use of a keyboard or mouse. It can also read aloud pages and marked text.
Opera was one of the first browsers to support Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), now a major building block of web design.
Overall, if it was highly implemented, it would show a huge leap forward in webbrowsing and might trigger Web 3.0.
Current Version: 10
Most Notable: Most advanced browser, I ever encountered.
However, even after finding the jewel that is Opera, I did not stop exploring browsers. I found Google Chrome, which I did not find to be impressive, and pointed me back to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer series, which by now got to Internet Explorer 8.
Browser Number 6: Internet Explorer 8
This browser was definitely a step forward for Microsoft, scoring a record 20/100, which is only beaten by 32/100 by the as yet unreleased IE9. Internet Explorer 8, finally managed good tab-browsing, introduced web slices, and various other features that made this browser workable, and in my eyes, surpassed Firefox. It holds 22 percent of Microsoft’s 60 as opposed to Firefox’s 24 (total).
Most Notable: A lot better than any other of Microsoft’s browser innovations, but still not up to the standards that Opera, and other browsers meet. It will likely never catch up, seeing as Opera 10.5 will increase its speed 10fold.
Browser Number 7: Safari
This browser was introduced in 2007. It has tabbed management, and cool features such as a Top Sites, and a history in the way of iTunes. It is good-looking like any good Apple product, and is more stylish than practical.
Current Version: 4
Most Notable: The Cover Flow history. Very impressed.
Browser Number 8: Songbird
Although, it lacks a large marketshare, it could be pushed forward in the future, by the leverage of its current company holder, Mozilla Firefox, Pioneers of the Inevitable aka POTI Inc.. However, this has failed to happen with Mozilla, and with Camino.
It is as if, it is the perfect merger between iTunes, Firefox, and it appears to have done what Winamp failed to do. Interestingly enough, after I wrote the previous line, I discovered that it is in fact, the same team.
Could become very interesting in the future.
Current Version: 1
That was my experience in web-browsing. For the record, my currently installed are:
- Mozilla Firefox 3
Thank you for reading.