A web browser has become such an integral part of our phones, laptops and PCs that many people don’t even use the word browser any more. We now call it Chrome or Safari or Firefox and sometimes ‘Edge’.
But it wasn’t this easy when it all started.
What is a browser?
A browser is an application that allows you to access the information available on the worldwide web. Tim Berners-Lee created the first web browser in 1990. He called it WorldWideWeb initially and then renamed it as Nexus to differentiate the browser from the worldwide web – commonly seen as www in the browser bar. Back then, Nexus was the only tool available to access the internet.
In 1992, a text-only browser called Lynx was created. But it never caught up since another browser capable of showing embedded images was released in 1993. Mosaic is considered as the first ‘popular’ browser.
Marc Andreessen, the man who led Mosaic, created a new company and launched a new browser called Netscape Navigator in 1994. The application quickly became the most popular gateway to the internet.
In 1995, Microsoft released Internet Explorer and bundled it with its operating system to conquer the browser market. By 2002, Internet Explorer had a 92% market share despite being a problematic piece of software and Netscape lost the first round of browser war.
But that was not the end of Netscape. They launched Mozilla Foundation to create an open sourced browser to compete with the closed source like IE. By 2011, Firebox had gained 28% market share.
But the war did not end there. Google wanted to get a big share of the browser market and so came up with their own browser called Chrome in 2008. As of 2018, Chrome is the undisputed leader of the browser market.