What is a Browser?
A web browser is a software application used to search and retrieve information like text documents, images, videos and other multimedia from the internet. Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) are used to provide the browser instructions about what to display. Web browsers are capable of displaying content from the world wide web, web servers, and local networks. Currently the most popular web browsers competing for market share are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera.
The first browser, called WorldWideWeb, was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. The first graphical browser was created in 1993, causing an increase in web use throughout the world. In 1994 Netscape was created and quickly gained popularity, brining web browsing to the mainstream. Internet Explorer was introduced by Microsoft in 1995 and forced its way onto the scene by being bundled with the operating system Windows.
Browser wars is a term in popular culture that refers to the competition between popular browsers to obtain the largest usage share. Since 2003 Internet Explorer has been losing users to Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera. This graph indicates the current breakdown of usage shares:
For a closer breakdown of browsers and their market share, take a look at this graph for Net Market Share.