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What Will the Browser Look Like In Five Years?

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  • Well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:28AM (#31909842) Journal

    I hope it will have migrated off the desktop, off the smartphone, and onto some contact lenses.

    *sigh* am I thinking a little too distant?

    • Re:Well (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:29AM (#31909878)

      It's just your farsightedness.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by poetmatt (793785)

      It still won't run flash well or be cross platform.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      Reading should remain a large part of "browser experience" for a long, long time; I'm not sure overlay displays work well for that unless they are really great.

      Controlling UAVs / robotic arms / tanks OTOH...that should show up quite soon. And for us minions "where's the nearest pub?" (rarely) "damn advertisements everywhere!" (usually)

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Ha, given that the smartphone web is about 10 years behind the desktop web, the browser will be what it was on the desktop in 2005... which means flash (or some similar proprietary crap) and most of the user base being entrenched in some old version of non-standards-compliant browser. And myspace-esque music playing on each page. Fun times.

      • by elh_inny (557966)

        You sir, clearly don't what you're talking about, while I understand that most phones fall a bit behind iPhone OS in that area, iPhone's Safari supports SVG, HTML5 audio, video, canvas...

        That's not 10 years behind the desktop, that's ahead of IE8...

    • by Yvanhoe (564877)
      And we will call these lenses an OS...
    • Re:Well (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dn15 (735502) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:49AM (#31911242)

      You joke, but I do think that the real difference will be how and where we use the browser. As smartphones and other mobile devices become more prevalent, the browser will be used less on the desktop and more on the couch, in the car, etc.

      Some people don't like the idea that the iPad (for example) is locked down as much as it is. But that may be a blessing in disguise. If a huge chunk of web clients are locked-down devices that can only run one browser, web developers will find it harder to say that a specific browser is required. They'll have to distribute content in ways that work on all devices, rather than just pop up an alert telling the user to install XYZ Browser instead.*

      * Fine, based on the way things are going they may just be able to say a WebKit-based browser is required.

      • I wasn't joking though.

        Anyways yes, I think the future is to make the web more accessible in all scenarios. Too many times have I had to pull over and use my phone for google maps, or pull it out to look up a word. But there are some cases where its either just to slow or my phone is too bulky or some excuse keeps me from opening the browser and typing stuff in.

        I really think the future is in having an OS off of the LCD and onto projected surfaces, mostly with the goal of being able to access the web.

      • Takes a Mac-head to equate browser == iPad.

        Get over your orthographically challenged [wikipedia.org] iPad, sure the media machine will sell it as the end all be all [telegraph.co.uk] of tablets, and it will beat in sales superior products already miles ahead [alwaysinnovating.com] in functionality.

        But. It will not change the web.

        Google's extensive integration of everything into the browser has more potential to change the web than the iPad, Heck, even Mozilla's Weave and Prism have more potential to change the web. And then there's Flock.

        And of course, none of th

      • If a huge chunk of web clients are locked-down devices that can only run one browser, web developers will find it harder to say that a specific browser is required. They'll have to distribute content in ways that work on all devices, rather than just pop up an alert telling the user to install XYZ Browser instead.

        But this is the opposite of what's actually happening. Services that would have been offered as web apps in the past are now being offered as iPhone/iPad apps, or at the very least client apps are being built for these devices while other platforms are neglected.

        There's some possibility that the trend may reverse itself with HTML5, but I wouldn't put too much faith in the future being *less* dystopian. More realistically I'm hoping that whatever device I'm using in the future will be able to run apps for th

    • by V!NCENT (1105021)

      It will probably be gone at some point... Probably not in five years though...

      You see; back in the day you had a desktop computer and you could also use an app to be able to browse this new thing called the world wide web.

      Today, who doesn't have internet? No e-mail... like WTF.

      So when everything is connected, a web browser is too oldfasioned for all this tech that has become common.

      In Linux I already stopped using the web browser for YouTube and just use Totem. As a KDE user it is still better to browse You

    • By contact lenses do you mean small and soft glass panes, e.g. Micro-soft Windows?

  • The literal answer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:30AM (#31909902)

    I'm guessing it will look like a window with a tab bar and 1-2 text boxes to enter in urls and search terms, with navigation buttons nearby.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by eln (21727)
      Whatever it looks like, Opera users will whine that their browser looked like that first.
      • by darthflo (1095225)

        In that case, we're looking forward to quite a sleek future. Check out (screenshots of) Opera 10.5x, if you haven't yet :)

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Thanks, but I've already seen screenshots of Chrome.

          With Firefox seemingly heading the same way it seems that every browser will look like Chrome. Hooray for variety and choice!

        • I've looked at Opera 10.5.

          I hate the new look. I especially hate the new Windows 7 "tabs as a task bar button" crap; part of the reason I use tabbed browsing is so that the tabs I'm not currently using are still open, but out of the way, which is no longer the case in Opera.

          Opera is the only browser I know of that, in the past three major versions (9.5, 10.0, 10.5), has taken steps backwards in general usability.

          • IIRC, Chrome and IE8 do the same on Windows 7; I believe it was part of Microsoft's HIG for Win7. Probably the next Firefox will do the same, too.

            BTW, that behaviour could be a good idea if Windows implemented a good program switcher and a window switcher for a given task, like Exposé. Alt-Tab to the program you want, then Ctrl+Alt+Tab to select the window (*not* the tab) you want on that program, Ctrl+Tab to select a tab of that window, with the option of selecting a tab directly from the taskbar. If

            • IIRC, Chrome and IE8 do the same on Windows 7; I believe it was part of Microsoft's HIG for Win7. Probably the next Firefox will do the same, too.

              Pages 753-775 of the Windows 7 Human Interface Guidelines talk about the Taskbar. The problem is, page 759 alone has two conflicting statements:

              "Each program (specifically, each program perceived as a separate program) should have a single taskbar button."

              after which, for one of the examples, they list "Workspace tabs." Workspace is only defined in terms of menu

          • I hate the new look. I especially hate the new Windows 7 "tabs as a task bar button" crap; part of the reason I use tabbed browsing is so that the tabs I'm not currently using are still open, but out of the way, which is no longer the case in Opera.

            Several things of note here.

            First of all, I assume that you major problem with Win7-style tabs is that you can't quickly get back to the last tab you had opened in Opera. If so, try Ctrl+click - it's precisely what it does (on any application that uses Win7 tabs).

            Second, this behavior can be switched off - "Use Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnails" in opera:config. It's actually one thing I like about Opera - while they do often come up with new crappy UI choices to replace old crappy UI choices, you can always rec

      • Firefox from 2015, with the most common add-ons installed, will look like opera from 2014.

    • by boristdog (133725)

      No!
      It will have no borders!
      It will BE the desktop!
      No more mouse or keyboard!
      All gesture interface!
      You sneeze and granny porn will pop up!

  • With the shit to more interactions with computer hardware, graphics card acceleration, offloading processing of certain code to the CPU I see this trend continuing but what impact is this going to have on system security. As more hooks go from the web into our computer hardware aren't we exposing ourselves to more and more risk?
  • HTML5 (Score:4, Informative)

    by Stan Vassilev (939229) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:37AM (#31909990)
    • by EzInKy (115248)

      Firefox warns that "this website (apirocks.com) is asking to store data on your computer for offline use." No thanks, I'll pass on that.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by clone53421 (1310749)

        Did you even read through it?

        JS APIs - Web Storage

        // use localStorage for persistent storage
        // use sessionStorage for per tab storage
        textarea.addEventListener('keyup', function () {
        window.localStorage['value'] = area.value;
        window.localStorage['timestamp'] = (new Date()).getTime();
        }, false);
        textarea.value = window.localStorage['value'];

        Use case: Save email draft on the client side (crash-safe)

  • Future perfect. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barfcat (1741432) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:37AM (#31909996)
    Three things I see happening now are 1) Displays getting bigger and bigger. 2) 3-D everywhere 3) Application integration with normal TV's. I think the next big thing in browsing will be developed for the TV user, like a widget for a web enabled Sony TV or something. I could see semething in the more distant future integrating the 3-d effect with touch/motion detection.
  • by drewhk (1744562)

    When will browsers go away? Will they be replaced by something else?

  • I guess (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Krneki (1192201) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:41AM (#31910052)
    They will become the next layer, where we use our applications / games.

    Hopefully the current OS-es will become irrelevant and we will fight over who is better: Firefox, Chrome or IE.

    Firefox will be for geeks, who likes to customize their stuff.
    Chrome will be the fastest and secure out of the box.
    IE / Safari the one with the most aggressive marketing.
    • Chrome will be the fastest and secure out of the box.

      Really [slashdot.org]?

      • That doesn’t really specifically affect Chrome.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          True, and I was being a bit facetious. But that said I am concerned that the problems they had in house are indicative of a particular attitude on security. I'm not writing them off just yet. :-) But I will watch them now for while as I have been doing to MS for, um, well it feels like forever with MS.

  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:41AM (#31910060) Homepage Journal

    I'm worried that it will simply display the MOTD about being a good citizen, reminding us not to violate copyright and then pointing us to our assigned task for the day. Oh and it will have ads for entertainment content, mountain dew and viagra. Mandatory ads that is (as in no need to click here, we will simply deduct it from your account, thanks).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by value_added (719364)

      I'm worried that it will simply display the MOTD about being a good citizen, reminding us not to violate copyright and then pointing us to our assigned task for the day.

      I'm afraid it's too late to worry [catb.org]. I'm just waiting for the day when the MOTD you're worried about is preceeded by scrolling dmesg output and a login prompt. ;-)

  • Let's ask the makers of OS/2!
  • people will boot netbook-iphone hybrids directly into the browser

    javascript will be the new c++. yes, that's a somewhat horrifying thought: the future of UI development will be javascript, gulp

    • Given that stuff like Google Web Toolkit [google.com], which allows you to write your application in Java, and then programmatically crunches it down to javascript for execution in the web browser, already exists; I'm not sure that javascript will really matter, even as it becomes the foundation of more and more stuff.

      I strongly suspect that, if you'd taken some computer scientists, sat them down, and told them to design a language that was easy to programmatically convert code in other languages to, and also easy(or
      • and your unwritten analogy is that javascript is the machine language of the internet

        • In a sense. It is (analogically speaking) somewhere between being a "machine language of the internet" and being one of the "intermediate formats" that things like LLVM and .net use for architecture independence(since, unlike machine language, there is no hardware that actually runs it, and rather more javascript is probably still handwritten than machine language). Because of the ease of handwriting(at least for smaller stuff) it still isn't quite like machine language or one of the intermediate formats.
  • but that guy's family name looks like a CamelCasedClassName ;)

  • Virtual! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:51AM (#31910196)

    It will look like flying through buildings made of data.

    YES, YES IT WILL!

    NaNanananananana I can't hear you nanananananaana

  • Except slower, filtered, monitored, pay-walled and with a different set of security flaws.

    IE will never conform to web standards, not that it matters as the standards will be utterly broken anyway.

    HTML will never be perfected with separation of concerns, instead every new standard will be a rush to pollute the language with a new wiz-bang feature and shoe-horned into the wrong markup paradigm. If a major browser is utterly broken, its method of being broken will be incorporated into the standard and develop

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @10:57AM (#31910292)

    It will have no buttons or any other form of input, it'll be a window to Steve Jobs browsing the internet. This is Apple's quality control in action, you'll never see any crap sites anymore.

  • I have a feeling that the browser of the future is going to look like the browser of the present, just without the IE logo. Third-party browsers like FF and Chrome are rapidly gaining market-share and, for the most part, provide a superior browsing experience.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:17AM (#31910640)
    At one time browsers were supposed to the universal interface for most data-delivery internet applications. Yet they are being bypassed for custom applications written for mobile devices. I guess mainly because they dont utilize screen real-estate very well, a precious resource on mobile devices. They have too much decoration on the edges, unpredictable screen placement, lack of touch-interface gui's etc.

    My prediction is they will be scripted, browser environment for the mobile device, which would provide a app-like feel.
    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      I think it's also partly because web authors "standardized" on a minimum 800x600 resolution layout. In vanilla HTML, text is infinitely reflowable, but it's apparently easier to make assumptions about screen sizes. Sites that put all their content into a fixed-width page regardless of your window size really bug me, and I'm hoping the proliferation of small-resolution browsers will help encourage the quick death of these sorts of sites.

      For the moment, though, you're correct that browsing in a low-resoluti

  • Chrome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:17AM (#31910654) Homepage Journal

    Firefox and Safari and Chrome seem to be meeting in the middle in a basic design with one entry field and very few buttons. Whether tabs are on the bottom or top, people want a streamlined experience.

    As for the rest, well I remember in 1996 when people were suggested VRML and 3D web was the next big thing. I imagine the web is largely going to look the same in 5 years except for ads. Pop-ups, pop-unders, peel-away ads and such will be joined by even more annoying ads of the future. Thankfully I block all of them.

  • Every [rachaelraymag.com] single [match.com] word [microsoft.com] will [imdb.com] generate [nuclearnow.org] a [mlb.com] popup [viagra.com] or [oregon.gov] link [zelda.gov] to [terrellowens.com] some [some.org] ad [architecturaldigest.com] or [cpuville.com] other [macsales.com] non sequiter [gocomics.com] . [wikipedia.org]
  • by linebackn (131821) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:25AM (#31910786)

    Oh, let me see, I predict that 5 years from now, browsers are going to be about the freaking same. Perhaps, as usual, with a few more useless bells and whistles nobody really needs but some PHB though would be cool.

    Why? Well, a browser is an application that retrieves web documents, renders them on your screen, and enables you to navigate through them using hyper links. Nothing more, nothing less. It won't make your toast and it won't replace your operating system. People may try things like that but then it's not just a browser any more, and it is usually a bad idea.

    The basic functionality of a browser really hasn't changed much since Tim Berners-Lee released his "World Wide Web" browser in 1991. Feel free to try and come up with something new that meets the needs of the world better. I dare say there is room for improvement, but I just don't that kind of innovation happening much any more - people just keep trying to shoehorn "applications" in to something that is only meant to render documents and keep scratching their head as to why that doesn't work very well.

    • by hkmwbz (531650)

      Why? Well, a browser is an application that retrieves web documents, renders them on your screen, and enables you to navigate through them using hyper links. Nothing more, nothing less.

      A browser is not only a document viewer. It's an application platform.

      people just keep trying to shoehorn "applications" in to something that is only meant to render documents and keep scratching their head as to why that doesn't work very well

      Considering that the browser is probably the most important application on any co

    • by Myopic (18616)

      Feel free to try and come up with something new that meets the needs of the world better.

      You mean, like, pictures? The original web browsers had text and hyperlinks. Everything else you see is an innovation.

      You might disagree but I think my web experience is enhanced by pictures, movies, forms, scripts, ad blockers, the direct search field, tabs, and pretty much every other feature. And this Slashdot Application I use in my browser is a little bit more capable than the similar desktop applications I was usi

  • In 5 years, we will finally see the death of mainstream support for IE6 in the corporate environments. Sadly, IE 7 and 8 will still be around dragging us back into the past. And, web developers who thought IE 9 and 10 would actually correctly support standards will look back and shake their heads at their naiveté.

    Opera will still be goofy enough to not be mainstream for most people.

    Firefox will finally have sandboxed tabs, not just sandboxed plugins (though it will only be in beta in 5 years).

    Chrome wi

    • by hkmwbz (531650)
      Opera goofy? Considering that it has more than 100 million users by now it looks like it's just getting more and more mainstream.
  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:04PM (#31912446) Homepage

    Here's the worst case.

    Web browsers are still around, but they're used only to look at junk sites. All commercial content is locked into "applications" for phones, tablets, and TVs. The content provider has complete control - the user can't skip ads, can't prevent the content owner from knowing what they're looking at, and can't save the content.

    Bots run by the MPAA, the RIAA, News Corp., Apple, and Google constantly troll the remnants of the free web, searching for commercial content and sending out goon squads to take it down.

  • by hduff (570443) <hoytduff@gmTWAINail.com minus author> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @01:31PM (#31912884) Homepage Journal

    what it already looks like: shitty web pages.

  • Anon: "I am hoping about the same, but with a more personal-intuitive-interactive cyber-browsing option."

Aren't you glad you're not getting all the government you pay for now?

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