Story 2014-05-17 3M2 The Browser Is Dead: Long Live the Browser!

The Browser Is Dead: Long Live the Browser!

by
in internet on (#3M2)
story imageGeorgio Venturi over at the Ubuntu User Experience Blog posits that the browser as we currently know it can't go on in the smartphone age . OK, fair enough: a traditional browser on a smartphone isn't going to be a great experience.
With the unstoppable rise of mobile apps, some pundits within the tech industry have hastily demoted the mobile web to a second-class citizen, or even dismissed it as ‘dead’. Who cares about websites and webapps when you can deliver a superior user experience with a native app? Well, we care because the reality is a bit different. New apps are hard to discover; their content is locked, with no way to access it from the outside. People browse the web more than ever on their mobile phones. The browser is the most used app on the phone, both as starting point and a destination in the user journey.
Venturi goes on to describe innovations to the Ubuntu phone browser interface that make it more useful. Not exactly the only new browser out there though, so I don't get all the fuss. LinkBubble , Opera , Dolphin , and others all make alternative browsers that try to improve the user experience on a phone. Why all the hubbub?
Reply 14 comments

I don't care if it's made of gold and makes me coffee (Score: 3, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-18 00:57 (#1PP)

I'll still stick with Firefox, because, well, I'm a creature of habit. It doesn't feel broke, so I don't wanna fix it. Though actually, if it did make me coffee I might consider switching.

Re: I don't care if it's made of gold and makes me coffee (Score: 3, Insightful)

by skarjak@pipedot.org on 2014-05-18 14:25 (#1Q5)

I don't know, that new interface is kind of breaking it for me. There's no firefox anymore: there's chrome and a chrome knockoff. I'm probably going to switch to something else.

Re: I don't care if it's made of gold and makes me coffee (Score: 2, Informative)

by songofthepogo@pipedot.org on 2014-05-18 19:10 (#1Q7)

I was pretty much forced to install the Classic Theme Restorer extension to get things back to what I consider useable. I don't know if it's the extension or simply v29, because I installed the extension immediately after updating, but Firefox has been quite crashy ever since. If it is the extension, then I'm kinda boned, because I don't much feel like using Firefox without it.

Re: I don't care if it's made of gold and makes me coffee (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2014-06-07 01:40 (#214)

Thank you for the reference. FF just updated itself somehow to v29 in the background which showed when the computer was rebooted. Urg. FF29 interface is horrible.

Meanwhile, I am giving Pale Moon a try.

Re: I don't care if it's made of gold and makes me coffee (Score: 2, Insightful)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2014-05-18 20:26 (#1Q8)

I'm hearing a lot of hatred over the new interface. My comments are:
1. if the only 'innovating' you are doing is aping someone else's UI, you are in a bad place. Nobody won by copying the other.
2. essentially the same comment, but: considering how many ways there are to improve browsers, is the widget set the only thing you could find to fix?

What keeps me off Chrome is all the skeevy Google tracking. What keeps me on Chrome is this new Chromebook :( It's also a decent browser. But Google is increasingly creeping me out. Firefox should be scooping up disaffected Chrome users. But they're not, because increasingly Mozilla Foundation's browser really sucks balls. And I am so fed up with the constant plug-in is out of date stuff, or checking plug-ins on boot time, etc. Find a better architecture! And fix those memory leaks! You are the Titanic, guys!

Re: I don't care if it's made of gold and makes me coffee (Score: 1)

by songofthepogo@pipedot.org on 2014-05-18 22:19 (#1Q9)

The skeevy Google tracking prevented me from falling in love with the Nexus 7 (and from using any stand-alone Google products on my computer). I really wanted to love it. It's a nice piece of kit, but I felt so icky-sticky with how very much Google was getting its fingers all over me that I returned it within a week. That was my first and, so far, only Android experience (I'm still cheesed off at myself that I wasn't clever enough to set up a throw-away Google account before trying it out). We're getting an Acer C720 on Tuesday and I'm planning on immediately putting some flavor of linux on it.

On the Firefox memory issue, I just read that a major contributing culprit could be my won't-live-without-it Adblock extension . The linked post explains briefly why that's the case, but also points out:
Of course, it should also be noted that Firefox (and Chrome, let's not leave anyone out) can also be a pretty big memory hog on its own without any extensions.

A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 2, Insightful)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2014-05-18 07:59 (#1PZ)

There will always be a need to have a basic method for accessing information.

Web browsers can degrade nicely. Standard HTML can be displayed and purposed by modern computers. A mobile device with a 7" screen is capable of showing web pages just as well as a laptop. The main difference is in the UI.

We still have a range of protocols and tools which could be described as being redundant or well past their use by date, yet we still use them. FTP, telnet, http (as opposed to https or spdy), vi/notepad, text passwords all have place. Nothing is going to be thrown away just because the new shiny way of doing things has come out. Some countries still use older technology like cassette tapes.

So, the answer is no. Web browsers are not dead on mobile phones. If recent improvements like HTML5 with native video support are any sort of indication then they definitely will not be going away soon.

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 2, Interesting)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-18 10:39 (#1Q1)

Thumbs up for LinkBubble, by the way. It doesn't do everything - it seems no browser does everything I like - but it's pretty damned useful on a smartphone and allows you to basically load webpages in the background while you, for example, keep reading things in your RSS reader. I'd like to recommend Opera mobile since Opera is my favorite desktop browser, but lately mine has been wonky on my Galaxy Note 3.

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2014-05-19 06:50 (#1QG)

My vote is for Sleipnir
Just disable the gestures, and add a Custom Button >Close Current Tab :)

If I have a decent web browser why do I need specific apps? At least the browser does not broadcast my imei and contact list
How exactly can you block ads from a native app? Without root plus firewall that is

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-19 01:29 (#1QB)

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 2, Funny)

by bryan@pipedot.org on 2014-05-19 02:30 (#1QD)

Oblig xkcd, even though TFA already includes this xkcd? :P

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-05-19 05:35 (#1QE)

ROFL

.. long live not reading the article?

Try this then .. other obligatory xkcd .. http://xkcd.com/1174/ ;op

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 1)

by hyper@pipedot.org on 2014-05-19 06:43 (#1QF)

That nails it.. so many sites plaster a message about their app every. single. time. Just so frustrating. Perhaps they are trying to get people to install their app through sheer frustration?

Re: A neutral access method is always worth having (Score: 1)

by zafiro17@pipedot.org on 2014-05-19 12:17 (#1QK)

I can't be sure, but I always thought this was a slam on Slashdot. When they first rolled out their mobile site, this is exactly what they did. I got asked "want to go to the mobile site?" on every goddamned link ... very annoying.