The Future Browser — Yes, Browser!

So, here we are, in the era — witnessing the massacre done by the growing trend of in-app browsers from famous apps. Let’s think a bit about the future of browsers & mobile-first strategy!


In the growing mobile centric world, many web apps like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (and the growing folks like Pinterest) have built a feature called In-App Browser (inapp browser, in app browser) — where the user won’t be taken to the default browser if s/he clicks a URL. For example a news URL from a post in Facebook. Instead, a layover is presented and the page loads inside it.

Image from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/turn-off-facebooks-app-browser-facebook-productivity-tips/

The main reason the companies built this kind of feature in their products is to keep their customers (users) inside their services (apps) for everything and not breaking the flow of browsing the app just to browse.

Let’s think of a scenario. I save links like Gmail, Yahoo! everything using the Facebook’s “Save Link” feature. And, whenever I need to check mail, I just click and load it inside the Facebook app and login and continue using Gmail inside Facebook. Weird right? But, possible and it’s a scary because there is no browser involved.

There is a buzz going about it. People have mixed feelings about the feature. Like many “nerdy” users hate it but the interesting thing is many first-time users and people who just browse&browse&browse Facebook as one of their many source of information consumption love it (of course, I loved it at first sight too.)

From http://www.androidcentral.com/how-turn-facebooks-app-browser-external-links
From http://www.androidcentral.com/how-turn-facebooks-app-browser-external-links
From http://www.androidcentral.com/how-turn-facebooks-app-browser-external-links

So, these three comments by the customers, clearly show that they hated the feature. Especially the third one stating the absolute necessity for Facebook to have that feature ;) But, the common thing in these user’s voice is same.

  1. They didn’t like the rendering.
  2. They read too much. Man, he just read the “app-permissions” :D
  3. They don’t like to be tracked :P — how hilarious in this quantum era!

So, I think all these problems are pretty much easy for Facebook to solve. But, will the users like that again? I hope no.

Let’s see the other side. Yes, fun side of it.

From http://www.androidcentral.com/how-turn-facebooks-app-browser-external-links

Here, the soothsayers. The first one clearly mentions the objective of the feature (in some ways). And, second one is clearly a win for it. So, may be they tell what they just feel. It solved their problem of window transitions.

Without any data, I can say that world is moving mobile — phones, tablets, phablets etc. Everyone is moving to apps to get more insights about the usage patterns (in other words to know more about the customer by spying on ’em.)


“What are we then? What’s our purpose of existence?”


Yes. Now, that’s the question. What’s answer?

Well, the answer is pretty much clear.

There were browsers, there are browsers and there will be browsers.

Yes. That’s why still Firefox, Chrome, Opera everyone is still in market and volunteers are making them great. The mobile may be big. But, it’s not the only vessel that consumes internet. There are other form factors as everyone knows.

Fair use from Google

For an instance, let’s dig the Wikipedia’s visitor’s data based on browsers. It’s almost mostly from Chrome. Let’s assume — they are mostly the people who have defaulted Chrome in their Androids. But, the others? It’s a pretty big number altogether.

From https://stats.wikimedia.org/wikimedia/squids/SquidReportClients.htm

There are about near the half requests from IE. As of now, based on the Windows phone share in mobile market, most of the numbers in that bucket means that it’s Windows Desktop OS.

And, to add more why MS just built an all new one hundred and ten percent faster (than Chrome) browser and releasing in the market? Browsers, will live long but, the matter is in what shape.

That’s why Microsoft has a tagline “Browser for Doing”. Yes. It’s absolutely true.

There is Firefox Hello to chat, there are tonnes of addons in each browsers built by people to do things other than browsing, and there are hundreds of things in browsers other than browsing.

I used to read stuff in desktop and mobile and there were no applications/apps satisfied me except the Bookmarks feature of Firefox. It may be a bit of code. But, it means a lot to the consumers.

There are thousands of developers who rely on Firefox’s developer tools.

Firefox Browser

May be everyone knows what I have written about so far. But, what matters is, how we help in building a web that is for public.

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