What Will the Browser Look Like in 5 Years?

By | April 23, 2010

O’Reilly Radar has posted a short interview with Opera’s Chief Standards Officer, Charles McCathieNevile about web browsers future, cloud computing as well as devices like tablet PCs and mobile phones.


Thanks to mabdul for this.


About (Author Profile)

Vygantas is a former web designer whose projects are used by companies such as AMD, NVIDIA and departed Westood Studios. Being passionate about software, Vygantas began his journalism career back in 2007 when he founded FavBrowser.com. Having said that, he is also an adrenaline junkie who enjoys good books, fitness activities and Forex trading.

Comments (45)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Tiago Sá says:

    Browsers as the center of the computer need, as always, a very fast and uninterrupted internet connection. Online office apps suck. Online file hosting sucks. Online games suck (at least your soul away). Online image processing sucks. Online programming still has a long way to go. Browser-based IM sucks. Even the best free email service (Gmail) sucks when compared to apps like Thunderbird! And all this is a fact, even with a fast, uninterrupted internet connection. I think it’s presumptuous of a browser company to pretend they are the head in the development of cloud computing. The head is the group of companies that create cloud-based apps. The browser is very much irrelevant at this point, and it will keep being irrelevant for a while yet.

    • nvm says:

      “The browser is very much irrelevant at this point”


      The browser is the most important application on your computer. There’s a reason why Google made Chrome.

      • Tiago Sá says:

        Google made chrome to take advantage of the publicity the browser market generates, and let their other products grow because of it. Google is a big player, now, more than ever.

        What I meant is that, with standards being respected, you can use any browser and the end result will be roughly the same for the most immediate things. And I sincerely hope that’s going to keep being the case. Right now, you choose a specific browser because of personal preference, or because of system compatibility, or something like that. But, in regards to cloud computing, it’s largely irrelevant. My Firefox works on Facebook (actually, it doesn’t cause I don’t use it), other Firefoxes work too, Chrome does too, IE7 does too, and on and on…

        • nvm says:

          Google made Chrome because their business model depends on web browsers.

          • Tiago Sá says:

            That is utterly meaningless from a commercial standpoint. Facebook business model depends much more on Web Browsers and you don’t see them developing one.

            Google made chrome because they gain brand awareness there, more than anywhere else. It’s the easiest place to gain it. Or one of the easiest.

          • nvm says:

            Facebook’s business model does not depend much more on web browsers at all. Facebook is also quite different from Google in that Facebook can serve ads wherever it is used, whereas things like Google Search will always be served through a browser.

            Google already had brand awareness before they made Chrome. People don’t even know what a browser is. They think Google’s search engine is a browser.

            Google’s brand helped Chrome, not the other way around.

  2. nobody says:

    opera seems to me like a car company, Jaguar.

    they went bankrupt (and got bought by India Tata), because all they did was great concept cars or short series of XJKs.

    they forgot that car company has to make money instead of/along producing lots of great concept cars.

    opera is so far ahead in thinking that they cannot grasp the concept, that their own browser simply isnt a competetive product _NOW_ compared to likes of chrome or firefox. people no longer are willing to buy ‘it is a website designer’ fault’ crap. it is opera that botched plugin implementation, not flahs’ silverlight’ or java’. opera failed and opera is to be blamed.

    unfortunatelly opera is more woried about browsers in 2020, not about their browser today.. it is possible, that opera will not be here in 2020.

    • Grrblt says:

      nobody seems to me like a idiot.

      He’s stupid and always whines about the same few misinformed things

    • nvm says:

      Never mind the fact that Opera’s desktop revenue is increasing by 50-100% every year, right? Who cares about the fact that Opera is making money, right? Who cares about the fact that Opera’s user base is still growing, right?

      Who cares about actual facts, right?

      • Tiago Sá says:

        Well, the money somebody else makes is not an issue for the end user, but it does break his analogy.

        And Opera’s market share is growing? No it isn’t. It’s stable, after decreasing when Chrome hit the market… Opera isn’t going anywhere, as always.

        • Swenson says:

          Who said anything about market share?

          • Tiago Sá says:

            True. But when you say that the userbase is growing, it means, most of the times, that the market share is growing. To say that the userbase is growing but the market share is not is a big… hum… I don’t know, it’s odd.

          • nvm says:

            When you say that the user base is growing, it means that the user base is growing. No one said anything about market share.

            What matters for a company is that it grows its business and makes money, which Opera does.

    • Tiago Sá says:

      Well, Jaguar have the XJ out, which is an incredible and sexy car. I don’t know how their doing finantially, but I’ve seen more Jaguars in the road in the last year than I’ve seen in all my life…

      But you’re right, Opera is focusing too much on innovating, and they don’t have the required infrastructure to make those innovations. They are closed source, so anything that might be remotely important is probably proprietary and the other browsers can’t pick it up, and nobody ends picking it up because Opera has a small market share. And yes, they have a small market share, which means anything that Opera does right has little impact in the market as whole, and Opera basically ends up as being a market research tool for the other browsers, which will then implement, if possible, Opera’s innovations. They just can’t do it like that…

      • nobody says:

        XJs were re-dressed ford mondeos with top-of-the-class interiors. nice cars, but due to licence fess (almost everything was bought from 3rd party) it didnt bring much money to company. their finances were so bad due to this, that it was bancrupcy (like Rover) or selling to higest bidder. Tata Co. won that bid and Jaguar is an empty-shell brand now.

        analogy somehow holds :/ their concept cars were great, XJK’s are amazing, better than Astons, but for half the price, but so what, if company has to make money.. opera has great concepts, briliant engineers, and so what, if they cant make their product ‘just work’ for mayor portion of users. flash issues, upgrade issues, silverlight issues, ‘never stops loading’ issues, compatibility issues.. lots of issues.

        and that said, I think that cabrio v12 XJS from early 90’s is the most beautifull car one can buy now. one of the last classic-looking cars. http://www.carandclassic.co.uk/uploads/cars/jaguar/415482.jpg

      • nvm says:

        Opera’s innovations are constantly being picked up by other browsers. As much as it pains me to say it, Chrome stole Opera’s Speed Dial. For example.

        And nobbie is still doing his old whining thing, talking about bankruptcy, and all sorts of crap like that. Opera is making money, and Opera’s desktop revenue is growing like crazy.

        • Ichann says:

          I like the way Apple does it. Steal and improve upon it.

        • Ichann says:

          I like the way Apple does it. Steal and actually improve upon it.

        • nobody says:

          sad, that opera cant pick up innovations that others did.

          like ‘form autocomplete’ that EVERY other browser have..
          like ‘developer tools’ that are actualy worth their name..
          like ‘ability to drag files from desktop to “upload box”‘ that EVERY other browser have..
          like ability to load a website and.. have it works! like EVERY other browser have.

          it is nice to innovate, but pretending, that others are stupid and not worthy of copying makes one look stupid. and opera ignores some ‘industry standard’ features. for what i ask?

          if opera want to be recognised as an inventor, they have to fill in the blanks in basic functionality and THEN innovate. those fillings might make more people use their product. to increase their share of users and make them back to the game.

          because now noone cares about opera – it is ie, ff, chrome/safari. show me one mayor website that SUPPORTS opera..

          • nvm says:

            nobbie with another rant there. He still thinks Chrome is going to get slower, and yet it keeps getting faster and faster, while Firefox is rotting away.

          • nobody says:

            got issues? take a tissue and learn to read what you reply

            and that firefox/chrome thing – amusing how stupid you are

          • max1c says:

            Its funny how O does all that and some of things better than all rest LOL

          • nvm says:

            nobbie, nobbie, nobbie… You were the one getting schooled after claiming that Chrome would only get slower, and Firefox faster :D

        • Foo says:

          Chrome stole Opera’s Speed Dial

          Here’s the infograph that proves it:

  3. Andrew says:

    Does news not connected with Opera ever appear on this site?

  4. Ichann says:

    are other browsers doing anything? It’s been Opera Opera and more Opera lately. For every other browser article we get 3 Opera articles.

    Surely the other devs are not sleeping on their arses now.

    Would somebody PLEASE think about the children?!

    • Tiago Sá says:

      I suggest you check http://planet.mozilla.org/

      Firefox, at least, is always busy busy busy with stuff all around.

      • nvm says:

        Firefox is busy ripping off Chrome.

        • Foo says:

          … there’s nothing there to “rip-off”. It’s WebKit with a frame and not much more.

          • Ichann says:

            Agreed.Chrome uses WebKit based on KHTML. I think apple didnt have the balls to invent their own rendering engine from scratch.
            Too bad it is really nice.

            Lookie Lookie. Mozilla is in ze game.

        • nvm says:

          You Firefox fanboys crack me up.

        • max1c says:

          and chrome and all the rest are busy ripping off Opera.

        • Tiago Sá says:

          And Firefox is the most widely used browser and is winning every war.


          Ok, they’re winning one war: the video codec war :P

          Opera is too, by the way.

          • nobody says:

            opera isnt winning codec war.

            it is up to google and apple to choose what WILL the html5 be. and because they arent necessary poor, they can afford to pay MPEG LA licences. and they will.

            effectively killing opera and firefox with one blow, noone will use these browsers, if no video site would work in them.

            and for common people – ‘the flock of sheeps’ – what matters is quality not some geek ‘licence, openess etc’ bullshit. h264 wipes the floor with every other codec out there. do you really think that people will vote with their legs to support worse codec (theora stinks) instead of better one? they wont.

            and that means swift end to firefox and opera, because they CANT pay these fees.

            and you know what? this is already done. apple supports h264 and is using its entire marketing machine to convince guilible people to believe html5 == h264. apple never fails in such cases. google does the same, it can afford to kill competition this way.

            btw. how anybody on earth would believe, that theora is OK? sorry, this codec stinks, no HW support, lousy quality.. it is theora’ poor quality that made it so undesirable.

          • nvm says:

            nobbie is ranting again. Firefox fanboys crack me up :D

            IE is the most widely used browser, Firefox has stalled, and Chrome is taking over. Sorry, Firefox fanboys!

          • nobody says:

            it is nice to know, that you cannot form a comment connected with the topic youve just ‘replied to’.

            maybe you cant read with comprehension?

          • nvm says:

            You are the one always ranting about Opera. Your comments are off topic 100% of the time.

            You Firefox fanboys crack me up.

  5. pneumatyka says:

    I’ve just received another call from customer, suddenly his Opera doesn’t want to open pdf attachments, and it doesn’t even want to save them on desktop. :(
    Why, oh why, such a magnificent browser has those problems?

    Although nobody whines a lot indeed. He is right, that Opera have some serious problems with its plug-in architecture. Now kill me.

    • Tiago Sá says:

      That’s the plugin’s problem, not opera’s…

      • nobody says:


        it is clearly opera problem, their implementation of NPAPI is too strict compared with others.

        somehow opera’ cannot hande plugins, that other browsers handle no problem, even if they were introduced BEFORE given browser existed.

        there are many old (pre 2007) plugins that work in chrome or safari, even tho they clearly werent optimised to work with these browsers. somehow opera cant use them. various analysis were performed with silverlight+opera combo.

        people scream ‘snifing’ (most of them couldnt distinguish sniffing from forking) but even with ALL sniffings removed opera still fails. keyboard input fails, mouse input fails etc.


        opera, get to work.

        • Grrblt says:

          The fault is with those wanting to read PDFs through a plugin. That’s a horrible experience for anyone who has ever tried it.

          • pneumatyka says:

            Whatever. Fact this that It can be done and it works in EVERY OTHER browser. Its very arrogant to state that its a plugin problem.

            Problems with flash on Linux (Ubuntu) is another thing. I really hoped it will be fine with 10.50 since it worked wonderful in first two or three 10.50 snapshots. Then there was regression, and now it rarely works at all.

        • nvm says:

          Opera handles the PDF plugin just fine. Just ignore nobbie’s rants, as he always bashes superior browsers.