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A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is a software application for retrieving, presenting, and traversing information resources on the World Wide Web. An information resource is identified by a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI/URL) and may be a web page, image, video or other piece of content. Hyperlinks present in resources enable users easily to navigate their browsers to related resources.
Although browsers are primarily intended to use the World Wide Web, they can also be used to access information provided by web servers in private networks or files in file systems.
The major web browsers are Firefox, Internet Explorer/Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, Opera, and Safari.
Blink is a web browser engine developed as part of the Chromium project by The Chromium Project with contributions from Google, Opera Software ASA, Intel, Samsung and others. It was first announced in April 2013. It is a fork of the WebCore component of WebKit and is used in Chrome starting at version 28, Opera (15+), Amazon Silk and other Chromium-based browsers and frameworks such as Android's (4.4+) WebView and Qt WebEngine.
Much of WebCore's code is used for features which Chrome implements differently (such as sandboxing and the multi-process model). These parts were removed from the Blink fork, which made it simpler, and gave greater flexibility for adding new features. The fork will also deprecate vendor prefixes; experimental functionality will instead be enabled on an opt-in basis.
Aside from these planned changes, Blink currently remains relatively similar to WebCore. By commit count, Google has been the largest contributor to the WebKit code base since late 2009. Blink's naming was influenced by the non-standard presentational blink HTML tag, which was introduced by Netscape Navigator, and supported by Presto and Gecko-based browsers until August 2013.
WebKit is a layout engine software component for rendering web pages in web browsers. It powers Apple's Safari web browser, and a fork of the project is used by Chromium-based browsers, such as Google Chrome or Opera.
WebKit also forms the basis for the experimental browser included with the Amazon Kindle e-book reader, as well as the default browser in the Apple iOS, BlackBerry Browser in OS 6 and above, and Tizen mobile operating systems. WebKit's C++ application programming interface provides a set of classes to display web content in windows, and implements browser features such as following links when clicked by the user, managing a back-forward list, and managing a history of pages recently visited.
On April 3, 2013, Google announced that it had forked WebCore, a component of WebKit, to be used in future versions of Google Chrome and the Opera web browser, under the name Blink.
As of March 7, 2013, WebKit is a trademark of Apple, registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Google Chrome is a freeware web browser developed by Google. It used the WebKit layout engine until version 27 and with the exception of its iOS releases, from version 28 and beyond uses the WebKit fork Blink. It was first released as a beta version for Microsoft Windows on September 2, 2008, and as a stable public release on December 11, 2008.
As of December 2015, StatCounter estimates that Google Chrome has a 58% worldwide usage share of web browsers as a desktop browser. It is also the most popular browser for smartphones, and combined across all platforms at about 45%. Its success has led to Google expanding the 'Chrome' brand name on various other products such as the Chromecast.
Google releases the majority of Chrome's source code as an open-source project Chromium. A notable component that is not open source is their version of the built-in Adobe Flash Player, called Pepper Flash Player.
Mozilla Firefox (or simply Firefox) is a free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, the Mozilla Corporation. Firefox is available for Windows, OS X and Linux operating systems, with its mobile versions available for Android, and Firefox OS; where all of these versions use the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards, but an additional version released in late 2015 – Firefox for iOS has also been made available – that doesn't use Gecko.
Firefox was created in 2002, under the name "Phoenix" by the Mozilla community members who wanted a standalone browser rather than the Mozilla Application Suite bundle. Even during its beta phase, Firefox proved to be popular by its testers and was praised for its speed, security and add-ons compared to Microsoft's then-dominant Internet Explorer 6.
Firefox was released in November 2004, and was highly successful with 60 million downloads within nine months, which was the first time that Internet Explorer's dominance was challenged. Firefox is considered the spiritual successor of Netscape Navigator, as the Mozilla community was created by Netscape in 1998 before their acquisition by AOL.
As of August 2016, Firefox has between 9% and 16% of worldwide usage as a "desktop" browser, making it the second most popular web browser. Firefox is the most popular browser with Samoa, Germany, Eritrea and Cuba at 61.05%, 38.36%, and 85.93% of the market share, respectively.
It is also the most popular desktop browser in many other African, and a few Asian countries. According to Mozilla, as of December 2014 there were half a billion Firefox users around the world. With Internet Explorer declining, Firefox reached second place in February 2016, as a desktop browser.
Internet Explorer[a] (formerly Microsoft Internet Explorer[b] and Windows Internet Explorer,[c] commonly abbreviated IE or MSIE) is a series of graphical web browsers developed by Microsoft and included as part of the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems, starting in 1995. It was first released as part of the add-on package Plus! for Windows 95 that year. Later versions were available as free downloads, or in service packs, and included in the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) service releases of Windows 95 and later versions of Windows.
Internet Explorer was one of the most widely used web browsers, attaining a peak of about 95% usage share during 2002 and 2003. This came after it managed to win the first browser war against Netscape, which was the dominant browser in the 1990s. Its usage share has since declined with the launch of Firefox (2004) and Google Chrome (2008), and with the growing popularity of operating systems such as OS X, Linux, iOS and Android that do not run Internet Explorer. Estimates for Internet Explorer's overall market share range from 17.11% to 51.59% or by StatCounter's numbers ranked 3rd, just after Firefox (or even as low as 10.3% when counting all platforms, then after Safari), as of September 2015 (browser market share is notoriously difficult to calculate).
Microsoft spent over US$100 million per year on Internet Explorer in the late 1990s, with over 1,000 people working on it by 1999.
Versions of Internet Explorer for other operating systems have also been produced, including an Xbox 360 version called Internet Explorer for Xbox and an embedded OEM version called Pocket Internet Explorer, later rebranded Internet Explorer Mobile made for Windows Phone, Windows CE, and previously, based on Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Mobile. It remains in development alongside the desktop versions. Internet Explorer for Mac and Internet Explorer for UNIX (Solaris and HP-UX) have been discontinued.
On March 17, 2015, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Edge will replace Internet Explorer as the default browser on its Windows 10 devices. This effectively makes Internet Explorer 11 the last release. Internet Explorer will, however, remain on some versions of Windows 10 primarily for enterprise purposes. Starting January 12, 2016, only the most recent version of Internet Explorer on each operating system is supported. Support varies based on the operating system's technical capabilities and its support lifecycle.
The browser has been scrutinized throughout its development for use of third-party technology (such as the source code of Spyglass Mosaic, used without royalty in early versions) and security and privacy vulnerabilities, and the United States and the European Union have alleged that integration of Internet Explorer with Windows has been to the detriment of fair browser competition.
Opera is a web browser developed by Opera Software. The latest version is available for Microsoft Windows, OS X, and Linux operating systems, and uses the Blink layout engine. An earlier version using the Presto layout engine is still available, and additionally runs on FreeBSD systems. Opera siblings – Opera Mobile, Opera Mini and Opera Coast – work on devices running Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Symbian, Maemo, Bada, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile operating systems, while Opera Mini runs on Java ME-capable devices.
According to Opera Software, the browser had more than 350 million users worldwide in the 4th quarter 2014. Total Opera mobile users reached 291 million in June 2015. Opera has been noted for originating many features later adopted by other web browsers. Prominent examples are Speed Dial, Pop-up Blocking, Browser Sessions, Private Browsing and, among major browsers, Tabbed Browsing.
Safari is a web browser developed by Apple based on the WebKit engine. First released in 2003 with Mac OS X Panther, a mobile version has been included in iOS devices since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007. It is the default browser on Apple devices. A Windows version, now discontinued, was available from 2007 to 2012.
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