Many of us believe today’s web browsers have gotten old and dated. Disruption is needed. In this article, I want to take a closer look at why the web browsers for computers should change, why the web deserves new types of web browsers, and what the future of the web browser could be.
New generation expect app-like experience from computers
20 years ago, only 36 million people (less than 1% population) were able to access the web through their desktop computers with a monitor, a keyboard, and a mainframe computer. Today, over 3.5 billion people (about half of the population) have access to the internet. Every day, people are browsing the web on their mobile phones, notebooks and desktop computers. In India, the growth has mainly been on smartphones. The youth growing up now first get to learn about the internet on their mobile devices, years before they get their first computers.
Web browsers for computers will play a role to bridge the mobile-first generation seamlessly from app-based internet experiences to browser-based.
The web keeps evolving
We have been building web browsers for more than 20 years. We are very aware that some parts of the web browsers we know today are nothing more than tributes to the last millennium — a time when the web was mostly made up of documents and pages. Today, web content has become more dynamic. People can drag and drop a photo inside the browser to make presentation slides, interact with a 360-degree image, send instant messages, or do a video conference call.
However, when it comes to the user experience, the browser has completely halted. We believe computer web browsers have to be reinvented in order to stay relevant for the new generation.
This gives web browsers more flexibility to perform advanced tasks. The browser should bring users cool effects and animations without slowing down their experience. People can also watch videos, chat on Facebook Messenger and do online shopping on one screen at the same time. Performing these tasks requires three apps on a mobile phone. On a computer, all you need is one app: the browser
Artificial Intelligence enhances browser capability
Moving forward, the user experience of web browsers needs to evolve. Browsers need to become smarter and utilize artificial intelligence in order to make web browsing smoother. At Opera, we have started implementing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in both our mobile and desktop products to empower our built-in news reader and enhance features like the currency converter.
Â The real power of such technology is, however, when you combine it in a smart, innovative user experience. In our latest concept browser, we have built in an intelligent system to help prioritize which tabs you should see first in your tab bar. But, to make this feel natural to the users, we had to build the browser from scratch, allowing users to touch and drag elements around. This makes people feel empowered and in control of the browser, even when the AI engine is running.
Industry hopes to see the browser developers embrace new challenges, innovate and inspire people to think about what the future browser could be.