Internet Browsers – News, Updates and Gossip


Internet, or web, browsers are probably the most used application on any PC today. For many people, the browser is the Internet, in much the same way that Google is the Internet for others. Many PC owners do not realise that they have a choice of browser, although in recent years we have seen more people start to move away from Internet Explorer (Microsoft’s browser) and start using Firefox and Chrome.

Here is our round-up of web browser news from the last few years. Latest news first.

2012 Web Browser Stats

Following on from our previous posts, it is time to review which browser is the most popular at the moment. Using our same non-techy website, here are the stats for the last month:

% visits
Internet Explorer
Mozilla Compatible Agent
Opera Mini
IE with Chrome Frame
Android Browser
Playstation 3
Yahoo! Slurp

I decided to add a more complete list this year. After SeaMonkey (an open source continuation of Mozilla, available for Microsoft Windows, Linux, and Mac OS) the next browsers are recorded as less than 0.00%. Actually, gt-s5233s was seen a few times, this is Samsung GT-S5233S Star which is connected with Opera (I think).

Interesting that IE lost very little market share, but Chrome has now edged into the lead, but only by a whisker. Safari has increased, which I assume is due to an increase in iPad users. Last year it looked like IE, Firefox and Chrome were going to equally share the Internet, but the rise of mobile browsers (possibly) is seeing a shift away from Chrome and Firefox. is everyone sitting on their sofa with a tablet instead of going upstairs to the office PC?

IE with Chrome Frame is a new one to me, TechCrunch explain what that is all about here: Google Has A Solution For Internet Explorer: Turn It Into Chrome. Basically, Google created a patch so IE users can have a Chrome-like experience when surfing. I really do not understand why anyone who knows Chrome would want to still use IE, but patch it. Very odd, but then again, the Internet is full of oddballs, so I should not be too surprised.

Web Browser Dead Heat Predicted

Mar 18, 2011 

Latest stats from a non-tech website show that Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome are slowly converging to a point of equal share of global Internet usage.

This is the date from Google Analytics for a popular health website today:

% visits
Internet Explorer

As you can see, Chrome only needs to gain about 4% and if it takes 3£ from Internet Explorer and 1% from Firefox, they will all be at around 29%.

It really is close.

What Does It Mean?

Not a lot really. It is interesting to see though. Firefox has for a long time been a favorite amongst web developers and techies because of its many add ons. When Chrome first appeared the general thought was that the general web users would stick with IE and that many techies will want to keep their Firefox for the many extensions and plugins that are used.

However, it really does seem that many Internet Explorer users have defected. But how many? What has changed? Lets go back in time…..

A Year Ago Today – March 2010 Browser Stats

% visits
Internet Explorer

Interestingly Firefox has actually gained a little, so those that predicted that Chrome would not tread on Firefox’s toes were right. Internet Explorer has lost almost 24% of the market share in just one year. This is a staggering loss really and considering that Microsoft has been trying to fight Google in search with the Bing-Yahoo search engine, such a big drop in IE usage must mean that their marketing and advertising schemes over the last year have failed.

Could there be other problems running at IE other than much stiffer competition from Chrome? Maybe. Maybe Windows usage has decreased, with more people running Linux distributions, but this does seem unlikely. Safari usage has also fallen, so it is unlikely to be due to defections to Apple Mac.

Maybe Google have just been promoting their own browser over the last year. I have certainly seen adverts for Chrome appearing in Adsense on many occasions, so maybe their promise of providing a faster web browsing experience is paying off.

The Android Connection?

Another trend over the last year has been the rapid rise of the Android smart phone operating system from Google. Mobile phones have been a much larger market than PC’s for a long time. It could be that many new Android users are discovering what Google has to offer for the first time.

Prior to Android a vast majority of people only knew Google as a search engine. Few people are even aware that the adverts on many websites are managed by Google. Many still do not make the connection between YouTube and Google.

However, through Android Google is marketing its brand better and people are becoming more aware of the larger Google picture.

Google Me / Social Circle

All this is good news for Google’s plans to develop and launch its own social networking site, or platform, to rival the mighty Facebook. With so many people using Chrome now, Google could do some hard marketing when the Google Social Network is running.

Latest Browser Stats – January 2011

Jan 3, 2011 

Just had a look at the browser spread for my main non-techy website, and the latest stats are quite surprising. Internet Explorer is really suffering now, and is now used by less than 50% of Internet users. Good fun to see that the browser wars are still going strong too.

Browser Statistics

  • Internet Explorer 43.89%
  • Firefox 26.26%
  • Chrome 15.78%
  • Safari 12.01%
  • Opera 0.73%

Chrome and Firefox continue to grow in popularity. Chrome has been advertising a lot in recent weeks which may go some way to explain its growth. Not so long ago (early last year) Chrome was around 8%, so it has almost doubled in a year.

Safari suggests that there is a very strong Apple Mac user base, generally Mac owners use Safari, although some install Firefox or Chrome.

Looks like a tough year again for Microsoft though. What will they pull out the bag to reclaim some lost customers? Maybe Chrome OS and the growth in tablets such as Android and Apple iPads is going to just harm MS even more?

20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web

Nov 18, 2010

Google have worked with illustrator Chrisoph Nimann to create an ebook that provides a mini history of the Internet. It is available to view here:

“20 Things” is written by the Chrome team, and continues our tradition of finding new ways to help explain complex but fascinating ideas about technology. Many of the examples used to illustrate the features of the browser refer back to Chrome.

For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web and browsers but may have been afraid to ask, read on at (or, you can use the handy shortened URL at If you find “20 Things” informative, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family! – Blog

So if you use the web but have no idea how it all works, then read this ebook and you will learn a few things that you can use to impress your friends and family at the dinner table.

This month (November 2010) marks 20 years since the Internet started growing (Tim Berners-Lee made a proposal for interconnected computers to share information). It is a very different place to the Internet today. 20 years ago the Internet was little more than the primeval sludge with a few single celled organisms floating aimlessly about. Nobody knew where it was going, everyone knew it was important. Nobody could have predicted how important the Internet has become.

Children are now brought up “on the net” and take it for granted, but so recently it did not exist at all. As a child I have vivid memories of the ways in which you gathered new information:

  • From clever people
  • From television (just 3 channels)
  • The wireless (radio, not wireless Internet!)
  • The library

I remember going to the library to learn about the university I wanted to apply for, to learn about martial arts, to find a class. Now libraries are only useful for storing books, research takes place online. As for social networks and media online, its a whole new World.

One Billion Firefox Users Prove The Open Source Is The Future

Aug 2, 2009 

Firefox, the open source Internet browser, has now been downloaded a billion times. It is estimated that 1 in 3 people now use Firefox instead of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.

Firefox is now 5 years old, and has been a hot with the IT crowd since its launch. Firefox’s strength lies in it advanced rendering engine, which means that minor HTML errors are less likely to cause a website to appear broken to users, plus the wide range of “Add Ons” that are available. As it is an open source product, developers are able to build customised extensions to the product and then distribute these to Firefox users. Some “add ons” have revolutionised the way the internet is used today.

To celebrate Mozillia, the founders of Firefox, have launched (edit – went offline on 3rd May 2012) to boast celebrate their great success.

New Browser War? Google Chrome is here!

Sep 3, 2008 

First Review of Google Chrome v.

I have just installed Google Chrome, and must say, that first impressions (after a minor bug on install) are that it looks good. Neat, very tidy, very minimalist, easy on the eye, and renders pages nicely. See screenshot.

My first problem is simply that I had to close Firefox to install it, and now cannot open Firefox. This is very annoying. Even after clearing the cache, running CCleaner to be sure, I still cannot open Firefox. A system restart is probably required – logging out and back in did not work either. (Update – yep, system restart was required to get my Firefox working again – probably Window’s fault, or Firefox’s though).

Freshly installed Google Chrome Browser

Second bug, is that I am using the Google Blogger software to write this, and on hitting enter while in Compose mode, it creates visible div tags in the compose window. It does not affect the actual rendering of the page, but looks messy. I will check in Firefox as soon as I get that browser open again. – UPDATE – OK, pages are generated correctly, so this is OK!

The first slight annoyance was on install, I was requested to close Firefox to allow an import of bookmarks etc. but the message did not fully show on the screen. Anyway, I am using Google Chrome to write this blog, so hope that it publishes quickly. Maybe I am the first person to use Google Chrome to publish a Blogger blog?

What I like about Google Chrome

The first obvious feature is that on opening a new browser tab, thumbnails on the Most visited pages are available – this is similar to Opera’s default page, where the user can chose which pages appear as thumbs. At the moment there are some useless pages listed, including two “redirecting” pages, but as the browser is used more, your favourite pages will be quickly available.

The other feature is recent bookmarks which provides a dynamic list of the last webpages to be bookmarked – this is a simply solution that makes browsing much quicker, as generally new bookmarks are often returned to most frequently.

The browser address bar also has a quick bookmark button, a star, to allow faster bookmarking.

Currently Chrome’s options are limited. Options are in three sections; “basics” which has homepage options, default search engine (not just Google! in fact, all the usual ones available from Firefox) , plus the choice to set Chrome as the default browser; “minor tweaks” which includes chosing the download directory and saving passwords; and “under the hood” which includes web security options, pop-up blocking, phishing alerts, and other security options such as managing certificates, and dealing with cookies.

Things that are different with Google Chrome

Google Chrome has its own Task Manager, under the Developer menu. One interesting feature it has is “stats for nerds” (that is so Google!) which shows memory and virtual memory used for different tabs / web pages.

Also, in addition to simply opening a new window, there is the option to open a new incognito window, which Google define as:

You’ve gone incognito. Pages that you view in this window won’t appear in your browser history or search history, and they won’t leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files that you download or bookmarks that you create will be preserved, however.

This appears to be a good security measure for browsing new sites that could contain malware and spyware etc. However, Google are quick to point out that;

Going incognito doesn’t affect the behaviour of other people, servers or software. Be wary of:

Websites that collect or share information about you
Internet service providers or employers that track the pages that you visit
Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
Surveillance by secret agents
People standing behind you

Overall I like Chrome. I am not sure if I will replace Firefox just yet, but as I do use many of Google’s web tools, I feel that this will become my browser of choice.

Google seem to have allowed a little of their true personality to shine through in Google Chrome. Until now there applications have been serious business tools and web development services, but from what is seen in Chrome, there is some humour and fun included, which we all know to be core to Google’s business culture.

I really look forward to what comes next in Chrome. I assume like Firefox, there will be a vast array of optional add ons to chose from. I am slightly disappointed that some of Google’s applications are not already integrated, such as docs, Blogger, Gmail and Analytics, but I would assume that this is all in the pipeline. One step at a time. Google generally tread carefully with their new applications, and although Google Chrome is classed as Beta, the core functionality is certainly well tested and debugged. The installation problems were minor, and most likely due to a dodgy operating system and unusual monitor. Google are on a winner.

Apple’s Safari Web Browser now on Windows

Jul 23, 2008

There was an Apple update today, and in addition to the iTunes and Quicktime updates, Safari is now installed on my PC. I didn’t ask for it, but good to have. Will be useful to be able to check websites in Apple’s browser from now. I do like the look of Apple’s sofware, but I have never had the money to invest in an Apple machine.

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