The web browser business model stumps me. How do they make money? Why are there so many browsers? Why are most of them free?
Why do they keep adding features I don’t use? How many browsers does a Mac user really need to use? Why don’t the browser makers share their revenue? I’d be more interest in using something other than Safari and Firefox. Wouldn’t you?
Welcome To Browser Version #11
Here’s a little browser history. The oldest browser still in development and usage by the masses is Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, now at version 9. The second oldest is OmniWeb, which is now a Mac only browser.
They both started life during the browser wars of 1995.
MSIE’s usage has dropped to below 50-percent in many countries.
OmniWeb, while very Mac-like and loaded with interesting features, doesn’t get updated much, and has few (relatively) users. Next on the list is Opera. I dub it the browser hardly anyone uses, but it’s now at version #11 (for early adopters and browser masochists).
Opera: The Alpha Dog Browser
I’m not sure how browser makers beyond Microsoft make any money. Browsers are mostly free. That includes Safari, Firefox, Google’s Chrome, and the venerable Opera, my target for Friday Scorn™.
I’ve read that browser makers get revenue from Google, which pays back a percentage of their browser search engine revenue. If your browser has a few million users who make a few million searches which result in a few million dollars…
Well, you get the picture. Whatever it is, browsers seem to do one thing in common. They breed features faster than my beagle breeds puppies or my husband’s wife breeds pre-schoolers.
Opera 11 is the latest alpha dog. Opera 11. Completing your Web browsing puzzle.
Puzzle? I click. I read. Therefore I am a browser user. What could Opera 11 do to enhance my browsing experience beyond clicking and reading?
More Features. Repeat. Rinse.
The latest iteration of Opera, born way back in 1995 as MultiTorg Opera to Norwegian telecommunications company Telenor, bristles with new goodies for browser feature aficionados.
Opera claims to be the fastest browser on the planet, and Opera 11 comes with a feature I think I’d like. It’s an option to to have Flash content load only when it’s clicked on. Goodbye Flash ads and annoying advertisement movies.
Opera 11 has built-in email, which is handy except for all the Mac users and Windows PC users who already have an email app which holds all their email dating back to the last century. I once heard it said that an app is not complete until it does email. And still Opera isn’t complete.
Check out some of the extension functionality.
Mouse Trail gives you a little red tail behind the mouse gestures. Video Full Screen sends HTML 5 video full screen (I like that).
Here’s the thing about browser lies, damned lies, and statistics. Internet Explorer claims to be the most used browser on the planet. People love it so much they’re adopting other browsers by the tens of millions.
Maybe there are 2-billion browser users on the planet. If so, Opera’s seemingly anemic share of 1-percent to 3-percent (2-percent average) could amount to nearly 40-million devout users. Apple says there are about 50-million Mac users, so it’s a healthy number. Healthier if more would use Opera.
The Usage Share of Web Browsers brings up some interesting statistics. Generally, of the five major browsers (MSIE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera) all are gaining market share and usage except MSIE.
The fastest growing browser is Google’s Chrome which also has the least number of features. It, like Safari, the second fastest growing browser, is lean, fast, uncluttered.
I’ve been using Opera 10.6.x for a few months, off and on. It’s like Australian beer. An acquired taste. Version 11 is also fast, but less stable, wonking out on me more often than boyfriends wonk out on Jennifer Aniston. Browser feature development is on a frenetic pace, seemingly to see which browser can have the most features before users rebel and begin using apps on their mobile devices instead of using browsers. Oh, wait.