Browser Chiefs Aiming Squarely At Web Apps

by Ostatic Staff - May. 28, 2009

Is innovation in browsers where it should be? We've reported before on how most of the innovation is going on in open source browsers, as Microsoft's Internet Explorer continues to lose market share. This week, at two separate conferences, officials from Google and Mozilla have weighed in on how browsers need to improve. Notably, they primarily agree, and their focus doesn't seem matched by Microsoft with Internet Explorer.

Reporting from the Speaking at D: All Things Digital conference in Carlsbad, California, CNet's Ina Fried quotes Mozilla CEO John Lilly, who said "we spend more time with our browser than we do in our cars," and, speaking of Internet Explorer, said "you can't run complex web apps well."

Webware also has an interesting report on Google CEO Eric Schmidt's address at the Google I/O conference, on how "the browser is the computer." He emphasized that future application development will focus on the browser, not the operating system. At Google I/O, speakers have also been emphasizing how new HTML 5 technologies will lead to as-yet-unseen applications leveraging video, geolocation, and more.

Even the current iterations of top open source browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are rapidly becoming stronger platforms for running web applications. They both have top-notch performance improvements when running JavaScript, which is central to how web-based applications work. In this post, Sridhar Vembu, CEO of AdventNet/Zoho, told us that the advancements in JavaScript alone will lead to web applications that don't rely on long-standing standards such as Flash.

Clearly, we are seeing a faster rate of change toward browsers as platforms for applications, with the effort led by open source browsers. The folks behind Chrome and Firefox have this directly on their radars. Microsoft, with Internet Explorer, is going to have to respond, and CEO Steve Ballmer has already discussed moving to an open source browser core, citing WebKit in particular. (Safari is WebKit-based.) I'm not going to be surprised if, in five years or less, the core components of every prominent browser are open source-based, with pronounced focus on running more robust web applications.