The beginning of 2020 marks a lot of things; a new year, a new decade and most relevant of all – the 30 year anniversary of the first web browser, WorldWideWeb. WorldWideWeb, not be confused with the World Wide Web, was initially released on Christmas day 1990 is the first and, for the most part, only web browser until 1994 when it was discontinued.
A lot has changed within web browsers since the age of WorldWideWeb, which should be a surprise to no-one due to its age, but what exactly has changed over the years? This blog will cover the changes that web browsers and by extension websites have experienced over the years.
The arrival of Mosaic – but not us!
Although WorldWideWeb was the first web browser it wasn’t as easily accessible as Google is in this day and age. If you wanted to browse the web you would need the knowledge and know-how on what to press and where to go, there was no easily searching a term and being provided with a list of relevant websites. Well not until the introduction of the first user-friendly web browser in 1993 – Mosaic Browser. This browser may look bad to our standards nowadays but back then it was the Mosaic Browser that opened many doors to the public audience and revolutionised the web browser into what we know and loves today.
Internet Explorer 3 VS Netscape Navigator
In late 1995 – 1996 web browsers really began to take off, so much so they were in serious competition with one another over the usage share of visitors. So much so it sparked the first Browser war. Looking at the more recognisable name in the title it’s clear who won this war but if you’re not in the loop it was Internet Explorer that came out on top. Internet explorer managed to take the edge being the first major browser to integrate basic CSS (website styling) within it and also it came preinstalled with any Microsoft Windows system, saving them time and effort of users to download a web browser initially.
The rise of Firefox
After Netscape lost the browser war it released its source code to Mozilla, a company who made web browsers. After several years of development and seeing smaller web browsers rise and fall Mozilla released a browser known as Firefox in 2004. Firefox grew in popularity over the years eventually even surpassing Internet Explorer. Firefox’s era lasted until around 2010 when a certain other web browser came around.
Although Chrome being released in 2008, it wasn’t until 2010 Chrome started making waves in the web browser industry. Google Chrome quickly started gaining traction and it wasn’t long until it was Internet Explorer and Firefox both playing catch up. What made Chrome so successful was the affiliation with the already popular search engine Google. Google already held around a 90% market share in 2008 so when Chrome was announced users were more than happy to jump to the new and trustworthy web browser that had full support for their preferred search engine. Combined with the capital the company had and their tendency to hire innovative people Chrome snowballed becoming the most popular web browser there is to date.
The start of Edge, the end of Internet Explorer
In 2015 Microsoft released a new more powerful web browser, Microsoft Edge. Edge was a browser designed to be the successor of Internet Explorer containing more powerful functionality. Although edge was initially released alongside Internet Explorer, Microsoft announced that it would be Edge that was installed on any new Microsoft systems rather than Internet Explorer. Microsoft later announced that even though they will continue to maintain Internet Explorer for systems that it was already included on, it would not be developing any new features and therefore concluded its life.
Chromium and the future
Although Chromium released in 2008 and contains the code that runs Google Chrome it is not until recently that even the biggest of browsers have decided to take the plunge and move to their main competitor’s open-source software. Opera opted to move to Chromium in 2013 which was big news at the time since before then Opera had been a long-time competitor in the browser war. More recently and more surprisingly Microsoft Edge announced that it would be Chromium-based beginning this year – 2020. This is big news as if a powerhouse such as Microsoft is going to be using Google’s software there is no telling what advancements Microsoft may release to try and take the edge for Edge or what improvements Google will make to keep the lead for Chrome.
Here at Mosaic, we are excited to see what the future holds for web browsers as our careers are moulded around their every move. It is our job to keep up with the latest web browsers and what features they bring, this is what helps us keep on top of all the latest web design features and allows us to stay as modern and up-to-date as we can possibly be.