by Thomas Brady


Man is it a weird time for the Internet.

Joe Hewitt, major developer of FireFox, FireBug and other big Web tech. who jumped the fence and developed the iOS version of Facebook (the most downloaded iOS app to date) just called for what I equate to the death of competition in the browser market in “Web Technologies Need an Owner.” In a nutshell: he suggests that there needs to be a single web browser owned by a single entity for the web to be successful and innovate fast enough to remain a relevant platform. Standards, he says, aren’t working. If that were coming from another “pundit,” I could easily scoff. Hewitt warrants some thought.

So take a look at the browser “market” - quotes because most browsers are free. WebKit is clearly in the lead (I think…), but even that is splintered. Android’s WebKit is not the same as Mobile Safari’s WebKit, but they’re closely related. The last user-facing feature added to browsers that I can think of is tabs. The most recent big feature overall is sandboxing.

Then Amazon up and says, “Hey, we have a new browser!” today. Again, I would scoff at this were it coming from many other sources, but…

This could be big. This is different from what Opera Mobile does. This isn’t just proxy servers or caching. This - at least in concept - is bigger. This is like responsive back-end design.

It’s a nerdy, close-to-the-metal features, to be sure. “Users” aren’t excited about the sandboxing revolution I was just discussing, and in some cases they’re still getting used to tabs. This is the kind of feature that blankets the whole experience. Everyone likes faster, even if they have no idea how you did it.