WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR BROWSERS?
NET|May 2020
Nico Turco examines the state of play with browsers, whether developers should encourage diversity or monopoly and how Google fits into it all
Kym Winters

January 2020 saw the release of the first Microsoft Edge browser to be powered by Google’s Chromium engine, which joined Chrome, Samsung Internet and Opera in the list of Chromium-powered browsers. According to Statcounter, this means 70 per cent of users are now using Google-powered browsers.

SO, IS GOOGLE’S DOMINANCE A BAD THING?

Browser ‘monoculture’ has been a topic of heated debate within the developer community, ever since the days of Internet Explorer’s dominance in the early 2000s. The argument goes that if usage of a browser becomes so prevalent, developers stop coding for any other browsers and over time standards erode and the dominant company can create its own ecosystem, locking users into their products and opening the doors to potentially harmful abuses of its position.

Supporters of the monoculture say that having only one engine frees up developers from maintaining different engines across a range of browsers, all with their quirks and idiosyncrasies, to focus on new feature sets that add value to users and improve people’s browsing experience. They make the case for faster innovation and increased investment in product development.

I look at that 70 per cent and growing user base and I feel that more Chromium-powered browsers in the world means we have a single point of failure – if a Chromiumbased engine goes wrong at base – or worse still gets compromised by hostile forces - there will be issues across more of the web. When bolstered by concerns about Google’s commitment to privacy, monetisation and data selling, we could see a browser landscape where Google holds a monopoly over browser engines – and the touch points within them - that a lot of users use to access the web.

Many developers believe in diversity, fair competition and the forces for good across the web: a future where no single provider is entirely dominate and where users have a healthy choice of tools to do the job.

WHAT CAN DEVELOPERS DO TO HELP PROMOTE DIVERSITY?

To avoid driving us towards a monopoly, designers, developers and tech-savvy people need to take an impartial look at what’s happening in the browser space and what this means for the people who use it.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NETView All

Camille Gribbons

UX designer at Booking.com, Camille Gribbons reveals how she first got into the industry

7 mins read
NET
June 2020

THE 5G UI REVOLUTION

Tris Tolliday describes his vision of a web UI catapulted forwards by 5G

3 mins read
NET
June 2020

HOW TO SHOWCASE YOUR DEV SKILLS

Aude Barral shares 5 top tips for landing your dream developer job

3 mins read
NET
June 2020

KNIVES OUT

Murder mystery film, Knives Out, grabbed everyone’s attention, and so did the fun website that promoted it. Oblio tells Tom May how it created its innovative 3D navigation

6 mins read
NET
June 2020

HOW EMOTIONAL LABOUR HINDERS WOMEN IN TECH

Christine Brewis, head of digital marketing at Studio Graphene, discusses how gender parity in tech has changed over the last ten years, and what more can be done

5 mins read
NET
June 2020

EDAN KWAN

He swapped life as a singer for a career making eye-popping digital visuals. The Lusion founder chats to Tom May about battling demons, winning awards and where digital advertising is heading

8 mins read
NET
June 2020

ANDREW COULDWELL

The Brit in LA discusses his new book on design systems, Laying the Foundations

3 mins read
NET
June 2020

Top 5 Tips For Ensuring Web Content Is Accessible For All

Merlyn Meredith outlines five top tips for ensuring web content is accessible for all

2 mins read
NET
May 2020

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR BROWSERS?

Nico Turco examines the state of play with browsers, whether developers should encourage diversity or monopoly and how Google fits into it all

6 mins read
NET
May 2020

YEARS IN THE MAKING

Exclusively for net: The latest in a series of anonymous accounts of nightmare clients

3 mins read
NET
May 2020
RELATED STORIES

Microsoft 365 Basic is a gift for cheapskates

The new plan is just $1.99 a month.

1 min read
PCWorld
February 2023

File Explorer tabs are finally in Windows! Here's how to use them to simplify your life

It's a simple upgrade, but you won't want to go back.

2 mins read
PCWorld
February 2023

How to insert and adjust images in Microsoft Word

It's easy-peasy.

3 mins read
PCWorld
February 2023

GOOGLE HAS THE NEXT MOVE AS MICROSOFT EMBRACES OPENAI BUZZ

Before the artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT was unleashed into the world, the novelist Robin Sloan was testing a similar AI writing assistant built by researchers at Google.

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #588

Apple Search The efforts to replace and surpass the Google service

As Apple increasingly looks to find ways to boost its services revenue and encourage customers to move away from exploitative ad-backed platforms like Facebook, the firm is reportedly on the verge of announcing its own supercharged search engine to rival Google.

4 mins read
Techlife News
Techlife News #588

Search The efforts to replace and surpass the Google service

As Apple increasingly looks to find ways to boost its services revenue and encourage customers to move away from exploitative ad-backed platforms like Facebook, the firm is reportedly on the verge of announcing its own supercharged search engine to rival Google.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
AppleMagazine #588

Become a Podcasting Genius

Podcasting is all the rage and there's never been a better time to get in on the action. But what will you need and how can you make it a success? Our guide reveals all

10 mins read
Maximum PC
February 2023

Becoming more flexible

A love letter to the most versatile gadget around

2 mins read
Maximum PC
February 2023

JUSTICE DEPT.SUES GOOGLE OVER DIGITAL ADVERTISING DOMINANCE

The Justice Department and eight states filed an antitrust suit against Google, seeking to shatter its alleged monopoly on the entire ecosystem of online advertising as a hurtful burden to advertisers, consumers and even the U.S. government.

4 mins read
Techlife News
January 28, 2023

JUSTICE DEPT.SUES GOOGLE OVER DIGITAL ADVERTISING DOMINANCE

The Justice Department and eight states filed an antitrust suit against Google, seeking to shatter its alleged monopoly on the entire ecosystem of online advertising as a hurtful burden to advertisers, consumers and even the U.S. government.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
January 27, 2023