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  • 8 Browser Trends for 2020: Latest Predictions You Should Know

8 Browser Trends for 2020: Latest Predictions You Should Know

Category: B2B News

When a new innovation emerges, most of us get overwhelmed by its sheer novelty. We tend to be overcome by new technologies that we sometimes disregard earlier works like web browsers. Let this browser trends help you put things in their proper perspective.

The truth is we spend most of our virtual lives within a browser. The supposedly “low-profile” web browser is one of the most important modern tools we’re using today.

The wheels of technological innovation will continue to turn faster and faster. It’s but important to take some time off to know about things that everyone must know. Like these crucial browser trends for 2020.

web browser trends main web

In 2015, 2 billion people were online. By 2030, 90% of the global population aged 6 years and older will be online. That means for every 10 people on earth, 9 will be using the internet!

This shows that internet penetration will continue to accelerate in the coming years. If almost everyone will be online at some time within a day or week, browsers will be more important than ever.

Worldwide Internet User Penetration, 2014 to 2021

2014

%

2015

%

2016

%

2017

%

2018

%

2019

%

2020

%

2021

%

Source: Statista, 2019

Designed by

We watch videos, read emails, share files, host web conferences, and connect with others using a browser in real-time. Amazingly complicated processes that should’ve been unachievable before are now just another tab in the browser that we use.

Awesome technologies like AI and machine learning deserve the attention they’re getting today. But let these internet browser trends remind you of the rightful, secured place of browsers amidst the influx of digital innovations.

Paid browsers are coming our way

Recent and current browser usage trends paint a picture of things to come: paid browsers. Within a few years, most internet activities could likely shift into premium browsing services.

Google’s decision to block ad-blockers in Chrome suggests a serious, planned effort for pay-for-play browsing. This is a clear signal that the tech giant intends to motivate free Chrome users to upgrade to its G Suite premium services, such as Chrome Enterprise. Chrome continues to be the industry leader.

On one hand, many criticize this move because shutting ad-block down in Chrome will estrange the billions of free Chrome users. On the other hand, experts are lauding the apparently right direction taken by its closest competitor, Mozilla.

Sharing the proceeds with others

Instead of forcing people to buy browsing time, Firefox will be sharing its revenues with the sites that people visit. This way, such sites can continue focusing on bringing better quality content rather than distracting readers with ads.

While its ad-free premium browser will be $4.99 a month, Mozilla will be using a more pro-user approach. Rather than removing popular features to boost subscriptions, the company will be expanding its premium browsing features.

Of course, free Firefox will be continued, with the same features as they are. Competing browsers, hopefully, will use the same approach.
Statista's chart on global browser market share

Key Takeaways

  • Paid browsers will soon be offered to users.
  • Mozilla’s revenue-sharing model offers benefits for all stakeholders.
  • Free browsers will continue to be offered.

The emergence of voice-powered browsers

Another noteworthy trend is the increasing use of voice in controlling our browsers. Web voice control is done either as a native feature or via third-party add-ons/extensions.

Voice-powered browsers exploit voice input and output. For input, these special browsers use a combination of speech recognition and keyboard. For output, they utilize pre-recorded (machine-learned) sound and speech synthesis.

Actually, voice browsing technology is not new. It has been existing for years now. Speech apps use some elements of the Speech Interface Framework. These applications are written in W3C’s VoiceXML—with semblances to HTML—and executed through a voice browser.

Will the visual browser be replaced soon?

Voice technology makes it practical to browse websites using any smartphone. W3C will be crucial in developing open standards for voice browsers. More than 85% of Interactive Voice Response apps for telephones use the VoiceXML standard.

Actually, real-world hands-free web applications had been used for a long time. For instance, airports use them to process airline arrival and departure. Other examples include automated phone receptionists and automated phone appointment reminders.

The viability of voice-based browsers, aside from its mature technology, is strengthened by the overwhelming 10:1 phone-PC ratio. Devices will continue to decrease in size, which, in turn, makes keyboards impractical.

Voice-based browsers are predicted to become mainstream by next year or the next. Expect a totally different kind of browsing with Google’s Voice Control, Mozilla Scout, LipSurf, and others.

Key Takeaways

  • Voice-controlled browsers are on the rise.
  • It offers numerous advantages over the existing visual browsers.
  • Voice browsing is a mature technology. It’s only now it’s being used for mass use.

Instant page loading has arrived

Since 2016, although connection speeds didn’t change, the average web page has grown 2 times in size. Today, the average mobile page loading time is 15 seconds.

Google says that businesses must have their sites load within 3 seconds. This is to prevent half of the site visitors from leaving.

With everyone busy with their own concerns, just how important is page loading speed? Nearly 70% of consumers say that page speed influences their willingness to make a purchase.

This is why industry players like Mozilla, Opera, and Google had been working round the clock to make their browsers load faster than before.

Speed is the name of the browsing game

Speed is now a landing factor for SEO and ads. While Google had been pushing the speed requirements, it’s not doing much with its browser.

Opera, on the other hand, is leading the way in browser speed development. Its Opera 43 was designed using machine learning technology to become a “smarter” browser. Over time, it learns what websites are attached to URL inputs, which significantly boosts page loading.

For instance, a user who frequently visits the CNN website. Opera will associate this news site with the address and quickly start background loading even before the complete URL is entered.

Again, while browsers don’t have any control over the internet speed, it can hasten its loading time through predictive analysis and automation. Users can make adjustments from both the front-end and back-end systems, such as by using a robust website builder.

Page loading time chart

Source: Unbounce’s The 2019 Page Speed Report Stats & Trends for Marketers.

Key Takeaways

  • Business websites must have fast-loading pages to prevent customer churn.
  • Browsers must leverage AI, data, and predictive analysis to enhance their speed.
  • Speed is now a land factor for SEO and ads.

Google stops Chrome’s Ad-Blocking feature

Google has recently announced that it plans to initiate changes in its Chrome browser to prevent third-party extensions from blocking ads. Premium Chrome and G Suite users will not be affected.

Being the biggest online advertising platform, Google earns billions from Chrome. How much more will it earn if its industry-leading browser doesn’t block ads anymore?

It’s just ironic to produce a product that goes against the essence of your business model, right?

Many consider this move as something inevitable. It’s something that many had long been waiting to happen. And it just did! However, this major decision by the industry leader didn’t make new browser extensions trends.

So what are your options?

The Vivaldi, Brave, and Opera browsers said they won’t change the status quo. They would continue supporting the old Web Request API for ad blockers and other extensions. They intend to do so whatever happens to the official Chromium codebase.

For those who’d like to try out other browsers, you have many options. These alternatives are found to be faster and more secure than Chrome.

Here are five of the most popular non-Google browsers available:

  • Firefox
  • Safari
  • Vivaldi
  • Brave
  • Tor

In case you really can’t part ways with Chrome, you still have some ad-blocking options. You can still use, for example, AdBlock Plus, uBlock Origin, and Ghostery. The recent Chrome changes didn’t affect them, but they’re not as efficient as before.

Of course, you can always browse safely via a reliable VPN solution.

US Ad Blocking User Penetration and Growth, 2018-2021

Source: eMarketer, 2019

Key Takeaways

  • Chrome had recently removed it’s support for third-party ad-blocking.
  • Other Chromium-based browsers like Opera and Brave aren’t following Google’s lead.
  • You can still use ad-blocking extensions in Chrome but with weaker effect.

Smart, AI-powered browsing

It seems artificial intelligence isn’t content in how it’s been changing our digital lives. It’s also in the process of transforming browsers as we know them.

A notable pioneering attempt to proliferate AI-based browsers is TensorFire. Developed by a team of MIT engineers, this open-source tool uses neural networks in a browser, powered by WebGL.

Another good AI browser application using simple experiments is Google’s AI Experiments. This project aims to streamline the process for anyone to begin exploring machine learning using ordinary things like music, drawings, and pictures

These examples are among the growing support AI programming in several browser-side languages and scripts. Such AI models in the browser include interactive modeling, visualization, execution, and training of deep learning and machine learning.

What are the benefits of AI-based browsing?

Actually, the recent emergence of browser-based AI offers benefits that weren’t possible before. AI in your browser:

  • makes several AI features like style transfer and sentiment analysis operate faster when it runs directly on the browser.
  • handles privacy issues by preserving browser-based AI data in the client.
  • removes the need for background API requests to resources in the cloud.
  • simplifies and accelerates the end-to-end flow of AI applications.
  • makes AI accessible to many teams of Web developers who work in client-side languages, tools, and frameworks.
  • provide the AI app with direct access to rich data from client-side sensors like GPS and webcams.

These are among the reasons why browser-focused tools for developing AI apps are starting to grow.

Key Takeaways

  • Browser-based AI applications are increasing in use.
  • The extensive use of browser-focused AI development tools offers many advantages.
  • Running AI in the browser increases the speed and efficiency of some AI operations like sentiment analysis.

Increased automated privacy

Who can forget last year’s infamous Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal? It was established that the illegal data access wasn’t Facebook’s fault. Its effect, however, was shattering for all internet users. Browsing privacy was again questioned and revisited.

Unknown to many, that massive data breach has a remarkable backstory. Last March 2018, upon learning about this Facebook fiasco, Mozilla immediately went to work to help save its Firefox users.

In just a matter of 8 hours, Mozilla’s product team was able to build the Facebook Container. This browser extension stops Facebook from accessing its users’ private details. It’s now Firefox’s most popular browser extension, with 1.5 million downloads and 500,000 monthly users.

A higher level of protection?

Today’s generation of browsers typically has built-in security components. A common example is the Do Not Track (or DNT) feature. A DNT setting “tells” websites, ad networks, and related web services not to track your activity.

The problem with these types of protection is they’re not really effective. In fact, a DNT is merely a signal of one’s preference not to be tracked. It doesn’t force websites to stop tracking your activity.

Good thing, though, there are browsers that do care about your privacy. For instance, there’s Firefox Monitor, which is a service that uses your email to know if your personal info has been compromised in a breach.

Today, only Firefox and Opera (at least among free, non-premium browsers) allow browser-based adblocking. Hopefully, the others might follow suit later. Security must always be a priority.

Respecting the Do Not Track Signal (U.S. Adults)

75.5% of U.S. adults say DNT signal should be respected

Very important

%

Important

%

Neutral

%

Low importance

%

Not at all important

%

Souce: DuckDuckGo (November 2018)

Designed by

Key Takeaways

  • Mozilla has been spearheading initiatives to make browsing secure.
  • Most browsers’ DoNoTrack feature is not really effective in securing one’s browsing activities.
  • Among free browsers, only Firefox and Opera allow browser-based adblocking.

A faster, better, more powerful browsing

So many things we can do today used to only be sci-fi stuff several years ago. Today, anyone with a smartphone can play online games, download music, and stream HD videos even without a wi-fi connection.

With the recent launching of 5G, things are about to get better and faster. In real life application, the current average 4G download speed is 15mbps (10ms latency); for 5G, it’s 50mbps (50ms latency).

5G stands for a colossal upgrade of network technology. With data transfer rates several times faster than 4G, it offers true high bandwidth capability. 5G technology opens the door for greater opportunities for reliability and connectivity.

Faster is always better

By the end of 2019, global 5G smartphone subscriptions will be at 11 million. Next year, the total 5G users will reach 72 million. Come 2024, 5G subscriptions will cover around 65% of the world’s population or 1.9 billion.

In terms of web design, the emergence of 5G offers a totally new set of browsing possibilities. Once 5G goes mainstream, existing technologies like HD video and images and WebGL will be easily deployed.

For sure, benchmarks of existing video and music streaming statistics will be shattered when 5G becomes the norm.

Global 5G Adoption 2019-2024 chart

Key Takeaways

  • 5G technology offers unparalleled speed to online activities.
  • Over half of the global population will be 5G by 2024.
  • The use of current web technologies will further explode once 5G becomes mainstream.

Web privacy by design

As the biggest data privacy law in over 20 years, the GDPR implementation affects almost everything, from international copyright laws to privacy. Its privacy laws on data collection and transparency affect everyone (even beyond the EU).

The public outcry against the recent data breaches will continue to get louder. It’s simply inescapable for web designers and browser developers to start getting things better, especially with user security.

With so much information available and easily accessible today, only 10% know how to protect themselves online. That means very few internet users are using secured methods to surf and make online transactions. How about the other 90%?

Goodbye incognito, hello browser compartmentalization

The most common method that browsers offer is the incognito mode. This mode uses a secure browsing window that should block third-party cookings and pause browsing history recording.

The truth, however, is that incognito modes only offer an inaccurate sense of security. It only prevents your device from recording your online activities. Your ISP and all the websites you visit can still see everything you do online.

A new, better privacy option that’s receiving attention is browser compartmentalization. This privacy method entails using two or more browsers on a single computer, with each browser dedicated to a particular set of related uses. For instance:

  • First browser. For web browsing only, without storing history and cookies, and by deploying different privacy configurations.
  • Second browser. Totally locked down for the highest level of security and privacy.
  • Third browser. Used only for accessing online accounts that need a password.

You can also utilize different types of browsers following various types of configurations and for different purposes as above.

By splitting up your online activities among several browsers, you’ll get the maximum anonymity and privacy possible. You can do this without sacrificing the ease of use of the sites you must log in to.

For good measure, it’s more assuring to add some more layers of protection, like by always using a robust VPN service.

The Greatest Online Fears among Internet Users

From a Mozilla online privacy and security survey of 30k internet users

Being hacked by a stranger

%

Being tracked by advertisers

%

Someone attempting to harass me

%

My accounts being accessed by family or friends

%

Source: Mozilla and Medium.com, 2017

Designed by

Key Takeaways

  • Browsers are now integrating increased security at the front-end.
  • It’s time that you know that using private browsing mode doesn’t give you complete anonymity.
  • Browser compartmentalization offers a better choice in protecting your online activities.

What do these browser trends mean to you?

This collection of browser trends is likely to bring some level of excitement to anyone who uses the internet every day. These trends will affect everyone who surfs the Web to work, play, or connect with friends.

The rising popularity of premium browsers will likely be a game-changer in this era of data breaches and futile adblockers. Voice- and AI-based browsers will empower users more than at any time before.

The vast improvements in browsing speed that instant page loading and 5G will bring would deliver the needed speed and efficiency. With automated privacy and privacy by design, things will not only look good but feel good as well.

Collectively, these browser trends signify the dawning of a new family of web innovations. Together, these could change the nature of the internet—and our digital lives—forever.

Being on top of these things will keep you prepared and act proactively on how you go about surfing the internet and undertaking your professional activities online. Aside from these trends, it’s also good to know some important browser statistics for 2019.

By Jenny Chang

Senior writer at FinancesOnline who writes about a wide range of SaaS and B2B products, including trends and issues on e-commerce, accounting and customer service software. She’s also covered a wide range of topics in business, science, and technology for websites in the U.S., Australia and Singapore, keeping tabs on edge tech like 3D printed health monitoring tattoos and SpaceX’s exploration plans.

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