We know all too well about the browser wars, don’t we? Firefox is better at this, Chrome is better at that and so on. While it’s great that we have all this competition going on right now about which browser is ultimately the best, I’ve been thinking recently about whether all of this will exist in the future.
Right now browsers are trying to improve everything about them – their speed, their looks, their standards support, and their feature set. Aside from the looks which can always be improved, everything else has a set limit or “end”, and eventually all browsers will reach that point. In fact, some signs are evident right now.
Standards support has once again been a big deal lately, more in fact than it has been in the past since the rise of Firefox. Thanks to HTML5, browsers are scrambling to gain support for all the new technologies. While not all browsers are on an identical level of support for HTML5, the playing field is still surprisingly level. Eventually, the HTML5 specification will be complete, and all the browsers will have full support for it. At that point, all browsers will be the same in that regard.
Extensions is another important feature that has come into most browsers. It first started with Firefox, then Chrome came out with extensions, and more recently Opera added them as well. While Chrome and Opera‘s extension APIs are relatively limited compared to Firefox for now, they will eventually become as advanced as Firefox’s and then all extensions will spread to all browsers that support extensions. When all extensions are available for all browsers (as they would probably try to do in order to get the most users), it makes each browser less unique.
Finally, other features that come out with one browser will be duplicated by others at one point or another. For example, Opera first came out with tabbed browsing, which was picked up by Firefox and finally Internet Explorer. Firefox’s “big orange button” that pops out the menu is eerily similar to Opera’s red menu button. Internet Explorer first came out with hardware acceleration for graphics, and now Firefox, Chrome, and Opera (soon) have an implementation of it as well. No matter what might be released by one browser, it will be implemented by the others if it is good enough.
Really, the only way browsers can separate themselves in the future is by their user interface. From a technical standpoint, however, they will all be virtually identical, and support all possible technologies found on the web. With that, it won’t matter what browser you use as you’ll be able to do whatever you want with any of them, and it’ll just come down to which one you support more or which one looks the prettiest.
What’s your take on the matter? Do you think browsers will become almost identical or will their paths spread apart greatly? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Shutterstock