A web browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web including Web pages, images, video and other files. In short it allows browsing the World Wide Web. A web browser acts as an interface between the user and a web server.

A web browser can also be defined as an application software or program designed to enable users to access, retrieve and view documents and other resources on the Internet. Although browsers are primarily intended to access WWW they can also be used to access information provided by Web servers in private networks or files in the files system. Web browsers are fully customizable. The primary purpose of a web browser is to bring information resources to the user.

The history of the Web browser dates back in to the late 1980s, when a variety of technologies laid the foundation for the first Web browser, WorldWideWeb, by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991.It was later named Nexus. After that several web browsers were developed. Today’s web browsers are faster and more feature-rich than ever before.

Popular Web Browsers

  • Internet Explorer- Internet Explorer (IE) is a web browser from Microsoft. It was released in 1995 and is one of the most popular browsers today. IE is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft.
  • Firefox –Firefox is a web browser from Mozilla. It was released in 2004 and is one of the most popular browsers today. It is one of the most standards-compliant browsers available. The Firefox Web Browser is the faster, more secure, and fully customizable way to surf the web.
  • Google Chrome- Google Chrome is a free, open-source web browser developed by Google. It was released in 2008, and is one of the most popular browsers today.
  • Opera- Opera started out as a research project in Norway’s telecom company, Telenor, in 1994.Opera is a free, fast, small, and standards-compliant web browser. Opera is the preferred browser for a number of small devices like mobile phones and hand-held computers.
  • Safari- In 2003, Apple developed their own browser called Safari. In April 2005, Safari became the default browser for Mac systems (earlier, Mac systems used Netscape or Internet Explorer as the default browser).Safari is known for its sleek design and ease of use. Safari is available for Mac and Windows systems.

Usage Share of Web Browsers Feb-2012 (Source-W3schools.com)

There are a lot of browsers, the most important players are mentioned above. This article just gives a very brief history on the major web browsers.


1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_browser
2) http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp
3) http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/default.asp


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