Born at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Mosaic surfaced in 1993 and laid the groundwork for technologies that make the Web easier to use. This includes the ability to display images in line with text instead of displaying images in a separate window. NCSA ceased developing and supporting the browser in 1997.
An offspring of Mosaic and a darling of browser users through the early years of the Web revolution of the 1990s, Netscape Navigator was created by Marc Andreessen, who sold his company, Netscape, to AOL in 1998. Microsoft helped accelerate its fade by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
Microsoft's Internet Explorer remains the largest Web browser in the world, with 55 percent market share, thanks to years of bundling on Microsoft Windows PCs. Chrome is nibbling at IE share, though IE 9 has impressed users since its launch in March 2011.
Founded originally as a research project at Norwegian telecommunications concern Telenor, the Opera browser was spun out into a separate company named Opera Software ASA. The browser doesn't command much market share on desktops, though Opera Mini remains the most popular mobile Web browser in devices not made by Apple.
Apple's proprietary Web browser is the default Web surfing app for Apple's Macs, iPod Touch, iPhones and iPads. Popularity of the iPhone and iPad have boosted Safari's mobile browser share to 55 percent, according to Net Applications.
Firefox stormed onto the scene in 2004 as the cool, new open-source browser and took some share over time. Firefox appeared headed toward 25 percent market share and higher, versus IE, in 2008 until Chrome supplanted it as the innovative newbie. Firefox remains a popular browser that has been steadily upgraded. It's hard to argue with its effectiveness even with Chrome in the mix.
Google Chrome Browser
Many Mozilla workers hate Chrome, particularly because it supplanted, or at least split, Firefox's darling status among techies. Thanks to Chrome, Firefoxs market share is stalled at 22 to 23 percent, while Chrome has gained 5 browser percentage points a year since its launch in 2008.
Its not a browser, but the Chrome Operating System provides the back end for Chrome. Chrome OS enables Web applications to run on notebooks, requiring very little storage. There's no telling yet if it will catch on, but Google is convinced Chromebooks from Samsung, Acer and other PC makers signal that the Chrome OS is the future of computing. Why? Because applications are hosted in the cloud and accessible from low-cost computers with minimal storage that can be easily replaced without losing data.
Managed by the non-profit Kronos Group, WebGL is crucial for enabling 3D graphics in modern Web browsers, such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. This WebGL-enabled 3D cow was a Google April Fool's Day gag.