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27 years of web browser trends summarized in one motion infographic

Most Popular Web Browsers 1993 - 2020

This sleek motion infographic was created by Captain Gizmo. The good captain wanted to be able to make the history of web browsers more accessible to everyone. The result is an impressive data visualization that summarizes nearly three decades of advancement in browsing technologies.

About the web browser timeline

In the footnotes for his animation, Gizmo explains that he wanted to “go back to the first graphical web browser, Mosaic” and see how things evolved over time. Gizmo includes several important milestones:

  • 1993 and earlier
    • Most users browsed the web using text-based web browsers like Lynx
    • Nexus was a text based browser with a graphical interface, which was easier to use.
  • 1994
    • Mosaic, was the first browser to display more than plain text
    • The concept of a web page began to form
  • 1995
    • Netscape Navigator launched at $49 with a 90 day trial
  • 1996
    • Internet Explorer launched as free add-on to Windows 95
  • 1997
    • Opera launches and is available to the public as trialware
  • 1998
    • Netscape held 70% of the market
    • Internet Explorer began gaining fast in part because it was offered at no cost
    • To protect market share, Netscape was forced to also become freeware
    • Microsoft was taken to court for violating antitrust laws
  • 2000
    • America Online acquires Netscape for $4.2 billion
  • 2001
    • Microsoft was found guilty and decided to split IE from Windows
  • 2002
    • IE was the official winner of the first browser war
  • 2003
    • Firefox Beta releases (browser were first called Phoenix and later on was changed to Firebird)
  • 2004
    • Apple releases Safari 1.0
  • 2005
    • Mozilla releases Firefox 1.0
  • 2006
    • Opera browser becomes freeware
  • 2008
    • Microsoft reintegrates IE 7.0 into Windows
    • Netscape Navigator is discontinued
    • Netscape ends
  • 2009
    • Google releases Chrome 1.0
  • 2010
    • Mobile browsers started gaining market share
    • Firefox 3.6 is released
  • 2011
    • Firefox introduces Personas theme engine
  • 2012
    • IE 9 Introduced new interface
  • 2013
    • Chrome overtakes IE in popularity
  • 2014
    • Microsoft release Internet Explorer11 – the final version of the browser
  • 2015
    • Opera 19 introduces Workspaces feature
  • 2016
    • Microsoft releases Edge, the replacement for Internet Explorere
  • 2017
    • Opera 40 – free VPN & battery saver mode added
  • 2018
    • Firefox 55 – includes VR capability
  • 2019
    • Opera 50 – anti-Bitcoin mining tool
    • Firefox 70 – adds Dark Mode & Tracker Blocker

 

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