A web browser or Internet browser is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) and may be a web page, image, video, or other piece of content. Hyperlinks present in resources enable users to easily navigate their browsers to related resources.
Although browsers are primarily intended to access the World Wide Web, they can also be used to access information provided by Web servers in private networks or files in file systems. Some browsers can also be used to save information resources to file systems.
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. That browser brought together a variety of existing and new software and hardware technologies.
Ted Nelson and Douglas Engelbart developed the concept of hypertext long before Berners-Lee and CERN. It became the core of the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee does acknowledge Engelbart's contribution.
The introduction of the NCSA Mosaic Web browser in 1993 – one of the first graphical Web browsers – led to an explosion in Web use. Marc Andreessen, the leader of the Mosaic team at NCSA, soon started his own company, named Netscape, and released the Mosaic-influenced Netscape Navigator in 1994, which quickly became the world's most popular browser, accounting for 90% of all Web use at its peak (see usage share of web browsers).
Microsoft responded with its browser Internet Explorer in 1995 (also heavily influenced by Mosaic), initiating the industry's first browser war. By bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, Microsoft was able to leverage its dominance in the operating system market to take over the Web browser market; Internet Explorer usage share peaked at over 95% by 2002. The usage share of Internet Explorer has declined from over 62.1% in January 2010 to 58.4% in November 2010 according to Net Applications, and it continues to decline.
Full article ▸