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The Top Web Browser Innovations of the Decade


This decade has seen its share of remarkable breakthroughs in technology, and the Web browser is certainly no exception. We have come a long way since waiting patiently for Web pages to load in IE5 at 14.4Kbps. The following list ranks those innovations that have affected the browser the most over the past ten years, as determined by reader feedback and overall impact.

Add-Ons and Extensions

It can be argued that nothing has had a bigger impact on the Web browser over the past decade than add-ons have. Occasionally referred to as extensions or plug-ins, these little programs have turned ordinary browsers into virtual powerhouses. Written by independent parties in most cases, add-ons are installed and essentially become part of the browser itself - adding endless possibilities to its existing feature set...

Private Browsing

Some of the most common search phrases related to Web browsers deal with removing browsing history and deleting private data. People want privacy while surfing the Web, and in many cases do not want to leave any traces behind telling what sites they've visited, what information they've entered, and what they may have downloaded. This desire for anonymity certainly did not go unnoticed by browser architects who, along with their development teams, spent a great deal of time over the past decade creating ways to offer the virtual invisibility the public yearned for. The result of this ingenuity was two-fold, with "before and after" solutions finding their way into most major browsers by the time 2009 rolled around...

Tabbed Browsing

As someone who made a habit of multi-tasking since I was old enough to speak, I can say without hesitation that tabbed browsing had a huge impact on my daily life. Gone were the days of switching back and forth between a dozen open browser windows trying to find what I was looking for. The desktop and taskbar clutter that typified my daily routine was now a thing of the past, and I had something as simple as a browser tab to thank for it...

Mobile Browsers

Although rudimentary Web browsers were available on select PDAs as early as 1996, true surfing on-the-go did not really become a part of our lives until this first decade of the new millenium. Not surprisingly Microsoft was in the fray early on with its Mobile Explorer browser, marketed as a portable version of IE. However, not until Opera burst on the scene with such groundbreaking innovations as Small Screen Rendering did the portable browsing experience really begin to take shape...

Honorable Mention

The following Web browser innovations did not make the top list. However, they still deserve to be mentioned: Auto Updating, Integrated Search Engines, Multiple Home Pages, PDF/Document Integration, Stored Password Management.
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