It goes without saying that the world of computing is an ever evolving one. What is important today will undoubtedly be unnecessary tomorrow. In regards to the Internet, the underlying evolution has been towards bringing users to their sought-after information in an easier and faster fashion. Now the Internet is at one of those seminal crossroads, and the victims in this case may be the web browsers that many users rely on today. Neither Linux or open source software browsers like Firefox or proprietary ones like Safari and Explorer are safe, as their necessity is shrinking and shrinking. These once dependable software middle men are now being cast away from the Internet’s natural progression.
So what’s causing web browsers to fade away? In general, the advancement of computing devices and software. But to be specific, the number one killer of web browsers is the growing use of mobile devices and tablets, along with their expansive array of software apps. These apps allow the user to directly connect to sites like Facebook or YouTube all without ever opening a web browser.
While the ramifications aren’t completely clear, the path seems to be leading to a more proprietary software in Internet connectivity. The majority of software apps on mobile devices and tablets are under the complete control of the developer; although, apps are being built to allow user customization and formatting for changing devices. Either way, web browsers are seeing themselves being muscled out of the fray as data can be accessed faster without unnecessary steps. In fact, recent statistics show a drop from 50% to 23% of traffic on the web going to web browsers over the past 10 years.
This transformation is bound to blur a lot of lines on the Internet. Social media apps, for instance, may eventually have the power to do away with not only web browsers but also the need for search engines. Through an app for Facebook, for example, a user can access information from other users, or records of previous interactions, all without the use of those out-dated web browsers or search engines.