What is a browser?

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Now this is an odd question for a few people… actually, loads of people.
I don’t mean to question anyone in a technical sense about what a browser is, just asking the general question about the definition of a browser.

I guarantee that if you ask your friends what a browser is, they’ll probably answer something like “Google”!
Eh?!
What they actually mean is they use Internet Explorer to browse the web and always use Google to search. But do they understand what a browser is?

What prompted me to think (and write) about this is a post I was reading recently which really made me laugh! And also in my job of IT support and web work I do, I often try to get people away from that horrible browser, Internet Explorer, the bain of every developers life!
What was really funny in the above post was when the user was asked what the big “e” meant, he replied it stood for “internet”!
Eh?!

And the video is quite funny too. Its probably a highly edited video to make the public look a bit silly, but in my experience, this is actually how most people think!

And just recently I was doing some work for a client who was on AOL Broadband and she thinks that the only way she can get onto the internet when she turns her computer on is to load up the AOL icon from the desktop!!! Ha! Even though she’s on a wireless connection to her router!!! Ha! She actually thinks that the AOL icon connects her to the internet and there is no other way to connect, even though when she turns the computer on, I can see the network icon in the system tray has a connection to the router, which is always on!!! Weird!

Anyway, she was still using IE6 and was complaining about things being slow. I asked her if she had thought about using a different browser? God, did that open a can of worms! I told her that Google Chrome was probably the best browser to use, and she said that’s what she was using! I asked her to show me and she double clicked on Internet Explorer, Google search page opened and she confirm that she already used Google! Ha!

I also had another client who got the mother of all viruses which I spent about 2 hours trying to resolve and got nowhere, so I decided it would be better to rebuild the machine. Once I had done that, I loaded Chrome on the machine for him and told him this was the new “e” – faster and more real estate! But again, he couldn’t get it out of his head that he needs to use the big “e” to get on the internet and that he already used Google!!!

So, what is a browser?