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The importance of the Web Browser

Picking the right Internet browser suited for Filipinos’ online activities

Filipinos are known worldwide for social networking and some heavy usage of YouTube. Recently, Pinoys were cited as the fifth heaviest social networking users in the world, according to the Internet marketing research firm ComScore.com. And we all know where Charice Pempengco, Arnel Pineda, and even the Cebu dancing inmates were discovered–through the video sharing site YouTube.

But when we drill down to the basics, what do these Internet activities rely on? Over 24 million Filipino Internet users rely on the power of the browser to access the World Wide Web. A browser is a piece of software that serves as a user’s window and access point to the World Wide Web.

However, Filipino netizens sometimes overlook the importance of the browser. Before the advent of the Web, users had to download software applications to their PC in order to chat, watch a video, and listen to music. But recent innovations have allowed these activities to be done online within the browser. We don’t even need to install software to write documents anymore. Thanks to the power of the cloud and the browser, users can access word processing applications online.

Speed

A browser should be able to quickly load webpages, no matter how dynamic the content. “Over 65% of today’s Web content is made up of images and videos. Over 35 hours of video is uploaded to Youtube every minute. This is a far cry from text-based Web pages of the past. As the web becomes more interactive, so should the browser evolve to handle the increased amount of data going through it.”

Speed and stability is particularly important for Filipinos given their Internet activities. According to a research by Universal McCann, Filipinos engage in heavy web applications, as 99% of Filipino respondents watch videos online, 61% upload videos, and 85% upload photos. The study, which conducted the survey in 30 countries, cited that Filipinos are on the top of online photo, video sharing, and social networking activities.

Simplicity

A browser should also be simple and easy to use. It shouldn’t take up a lot of screen space, which would be better saved for the Web page a user is actually trying to view. Google Chrome, for instance, has stripped away everything but the bare minimum in order to let users focus on web content and not on the browser itself.

It has an all-purpose box on top called the ‘omnibox,’ which can be used for typing in web addresses and search queries. It also opens up tabs very easily – each new tab shows tiles of most frequently visited pages, to help users get to where they want to go on the Web faster.

Security

Browsers should also be very secure, as malware is a constant threat on the Internet. According to the 2009 X-Force Mid-Year Trend and Risk Report by IBM, malicious web links has risen by 508% in the first half of 2009. There are two ways browsers can mitigate this. A browser can keep itself up to date with the latest security patches without having to rely on a user to download these patches every time a vulnerability needs to be addressed. With Google Chrome, for instance, a user always gets the latest version on his machine, automatically.