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It’s hard to imagine the Internet without tabbed browsing. Despite the fact that tab abuse can slow down your browser, it’s one of those “once you start, you can’t go back” features, and a modern browser without tabs would surely die overnight.
So which browser can we thank for pioneering tabs?
A lot of people think that Mozilla Firefox (then known as Firebird) was the first to introduce them — and while it’s true that Firefox definitely popularized the concept, it can’t take credit as innovator. Opera also helped to promote tabs in the early 2000s, but it wasn’t the first either.
The glory belongs to InternetWorks by BookLink Technologies, an old-time browser from the early 1990s that you’ve probably never heard of. BookLink’s technology was later licensed by Microsoft to bring Internet capabilities to Word, but otherwise, the company hasn’t done much else to be noteworthy.
There are two more common myths that people wrongly believe — first, that Chrome invented browser extensions, and second, that Chrome invented private browsing mode. Neither of these are true.
In fact, browser extensions predate even tabbed browsing! Microsoft introduced extensions with Internet Explorer 5 in 1999. They weren’t as useful or productive as modern extensions, but the ability to add new functionality and enhance the interface was an ahead-of-its-time move by Microsoft.
And three years before Google popularized private browsing with Incognito Mode, Safari already had a feature for temporary suspension of cookies and cache. So if you want to thank someone for the many uses of private browsing mode, let that someone be Safari, not Chrome.
Got any interesting browser facts of your own? Share them with us in the comments!