Upstart web browser renaissance


If you search for the term “browser renaissance”, you find a lot of articles from 2007 or 2009 but nothing “new” – something from 2009 written about technology may as well have been written in 1909. I wanted to see if anyone had written much about the birth of several new web browsers in recent months and had commented on the why behind these developments. Many times in the past (when I worked in the browser industry) we heard a lot of talk about the browser space being dead, or that one browser had won the war over the others, or that the browser would, if not go the way of the dinosaur, at least seem irrelevant with the proliferation of apps and connected devices.

Of late, though, we’ve seen big splashes (at least within the tech media) made by the new Vivaldi browser (brought to life by former Opera Software stalwarts), a Yandex browser and a promised Microsoft launch of a new browser (to replace the REAL dinosaur in the browser landscape, Internet Explorer).

What is driving this? Why now? Sitting awake sleeplessly on a Saturday night/Sunday morning, broad ideas spring to mind. Much like late May delivers almost no darkness in Sweden, some technology is as cyclical as seasons changing. Light disappears in Swedish autumn and winter, and reappears every year. Browsers are declared DOA, and like clockwork, are revived in new forms. This is an overly simplistic interpretation, borne of insomnia and an unwillingness to give it much more thought than that in this state.

As Opera has moved away from its former focus on browser features, Vivaldi has grabbed the baton and run with it, catering to what it calls “power users” (and tech fans of features).

Yandex has, particularly with its recent beta launch, focused squarely on privacy (outside its home markets).

And Microsoft… well, do we need to explain why Microsoft would need to murder IE rather than just let it go extinct? No. It needed to start from scratch. I suspect if I need to explain it, you would not have landed on this page in the first place.

So far I have only tried out Vivaldi and Yandex – I can’t say I am in love with anything. I am like most people in that I use different browsers for different, specific purposes, and I suspect my use of these new browsers will follow the same pattern.

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