What is a browser?
A web browser is the software program that allows you to view information on the internet. Web browsers are free to download and fast to install.
Is your browser up to date?
You can check what browser you are using at http://www.whatbrowser.org/en/
(While you are there you can watch the short video to learn more about what a browser is)
Updating to the most current version of your browser will increase your online security, allow faster browsing & more features, and help keep technology moving forward. Current versions are Firefox 3.6.12, Chrome 7.0, Opera 10.63, Safari 5.0.3, IE 8.0 - Please make sure yours is up to date.
The first web browser was introduced to the public in August 1991. I was working toward a degree in Advertising Design & Production at the time and 3.5" diskettes were the norm for sharing documents. It was called the World Wide Web (later renamed Nexus) and was created by Tim Berners-Lee. It was mainly used by scientists at the time. Wow have browsers come a long way since then!
Netscape Navigator was released in 1994. Internet Explorer was introduced in 1995, the year we moved to Raleigh. We were still using books to find information when we planned our move. Comercialization of WWW began in 1996 and the dotcom boom followed in 1999. Open Source Mozilla joined the scene in 1998 and eventually evolved into Firefox in 2004. The bubble burst in 2001, leaving dotcom companies to sink or swim. 2002 brought Web 2.0 and new forms of sharing information - blogs, social networks, and RSS feeds gained popularity. Safari was released in 2003. You Tube emerged in 2005 and popularity of online video grew quickly. Google Chrome is the newest browser, released in 2008.
I've just covered a few highlights here.
If you would like to see a cool timeline of browser history check out this one on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_web_browsers#Graphical_Timeline
Google has published "20 things I learned about browsers and the web" to help you learn more about browsers and the web. It has wonderful illustrations by Christoph Niemann: http://20thingsilearned.com/
Wikipedia has an in depth comparison of web browsers here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_browsers
Our browser of choice is Firefox, but if you're still using Internet Explorer because it came pre-loaded on your computer we won't hold it against you (as long as you upgrade to the current version).