Web browsers are the gateway to the internet for every internet user, and while some users stay with the browser that came with their operating systems, others may wish to examine the options available to them. Today, there are browsers to suit every possible need and use for any computer user at home or in business. Early in the internet's history, only a few browsers were available, limiting the options and alternatives to internet users.
Today's browsers are capable of doing much more than visiting web pages. They can be used for file sharing, reading RSS feeds, editing Word documents and Excel spreadsheet, and checking email.
Internet Browsers Available to Users Today:
The Opera browser is maintained and developed by Telenor, a Swedish company, and was first released in 1994. Later that year, the browser division split off into its own company called Opera Software Inc. The Opera Link feature allows a user to synchronize data from multiple sources such as network computers or mobile devices such as PDAs. The browser also keeps a record of the content, not just the URLs, of visited pages, making finding the information easier. A new and improved browser engine helps to maintain security and privacy while online, and the Speed Dial speeds the acquisition of addresses to already visited web pages in a single click. Developers of applications can check the Opera developer page for details and usage requirements.
Mozilla Firefox is a completely open source web browser that was born out of the decline of Netscape. This is a completely customizable web browser with more add-ons and tweaks than any other browser on the market today. The password manager allows the browser to maintain and save all of the user's passwords without ever seeing a pop up box. A smart location bar enables the searching of favorite and frequently used pages, using a few key terms instead of the entire or partial address. The new version of Firefox uses less memory and enhances performance, while a platform native option exists to fully integrate Firefox into an operating system.
Safari is the Apple and Mac web browser but can be used on PCs based in Windows. Safari features a simple interface for web browsing highlighting the content and not the application used for viewing. The newest version has over 150 features such as the top sites feature which displays the recently visited pages in thumbnails for easy viewing and recognition. Safari was the first browser to integrate RSS reading into the browser, which other browsers have followed since its inception, and implemented spelling and grammar checking as well. The WebKit application is at the heart of Safari and renders pages quicker, in better detail and with higher quality graphics. WebKit is completely open source and can be used to develop any number of applications on PCs, Macs, iPhones, and iTouches.
Flock is an open source browser designed to encompass the needs of social network users and provides a more user-controlled environment for browsing the internet. Flock is built upon the Mozilla architecture and was founded in 2005 to provide a better browsing experience for users. Like many of the browsers on the market, Flock can have themes , add-ons, and extras added to improve the function of the browser to meet the demands of its users. Flock, due to its Mozilla architecture, can use almost any theme or add-on for the Firefox browser, increasing the availability of extras to users. A people sidebar allows users to have constant feeds from their favorite social networks delivered directly to their browser; this same application allows a user to drag and drop images, photos and fun information to share with their friends into the media sidebar. It is also capable of image editing in the browser itself, which lowers the amount of time a user needs to spend working with their images for web use.