If Browsers Were Real People in a ‘War Room’
Shôn Ellerton, April 13, 2021
Let’s have some fun and pretend what our browsers would be like if they behaved like real people!
Somewhere in ‘The Cloud’, there is a very special room. A room where all the browsers conduct their daily operations. It is quite a large room with a table big enough for all the browsers to sit together and generally argue with each other and to show off who’s best. Such would be life if we could envisage our browsers as real people.
Now, most of the browsers in the room don’t participate much at all and to be honest, most of us have never heard of them. There’s Mr Falkon, Ms Torch, a cool kind of dude called Comodo IceDragon, Miss Midori, and many others. They kind of casually sit there not doing much at all except, perhaps, just to listen to the other browsers. They’re a little shy but they learn a lot from the other browsers. Some of them are really smart though and have some cool tricks.
Sitting on the opposite ends of this long oval table are the two most seemingly important browsers, Sir Safari and Mr Chrome, although he prefers the title, King Chrome. Safari has rimless spectacles and is dressed in an elegant dark-grey suit meticulously cut for the sophisticate, while Chrome is a rather heavy-set fella dressed in an assortment of colours with lots of dangly things hanging off his clothes, which he admiringly calls his ‘extensions’. Chrome looks a little clownish to be honest, but deep down, he’s a little devious and wants to know everything about you, your family, your pets, and possibly even your sex life. Strangely enough, sitting kind of behind him is his lesser-known doppelganger called Canary, but Canary looks a little different insofar that he is greyish in colour—with just a bit of yellow tinge—and wears intelligent looking spectacles. Canary is not interested in you and me or other mere mortals but if you’re a die-hard web developer, he will show you such sights and marvels before his twin, Chrome, knows anything about it.
Sitting amongst the other, predominantly quiet browsers, are a few outspoken ones like Mr Firefox, Dame Opera, Dr Vivaldi, and of course, Brave. Brave constantly ridicules Firefox for him becoming a little portly as of late and of becoming a little lax in being able to give privacy and speed for his users. Firefox returns the insults accordingly suggesting Brave is just a simple Chrome copycat lout with the added ostentatiousness of calling himself Brave. Although, it has to be said that Firefox does hold a secret admiration to Brave’s advanced privacy, superior performance and the use of trendy digital currency features. In short, Firefox is a smidgen jealous. Dr Vivaldi is a little on the weird side and prefers to do things quite differently. Although he is a minimalist at heart, he exudes elegance. Dressed in plain modern fashion but sporting a traditional fountain pen, he is a paradox indeed. However, much of Vivaldi’s inspiration comes from Dame Opera who is quite elderly now, but she sits quiet and content knowing full well that these younger whippersnappers should know their place and show respect for their elders and failure to do so, will oust them from the ‘court of browsers’.
Sitting next to Chrome, or should I say King Chrome, is a peculiar browser with sharply defined clothes, three pens in his breast pocket, slick-black hair and very shiny sharp-looking shoes. He speaks very fast and can be seen constantly prodding King Chrome, much to his annoyance of course. His name is Edge and as the name suggests, he is exactly that. He is extremely provocative because if any of the other browsers challenge him, he will stand up immediately and walk around to the browser confronting him and prod him (or her) in the chest and hurl abuse until the challenging browser shuts up. Edge will then return to his seat next to King Chrome trying his best to prod him from his chair judging him unfit to be at the end of the table. Edge would not look entirely out of place as a used car salesman.
Sitting on the other side of Edge to the left is a rather miserable, massively bloated and somewhat elderly browser who has seen the best of his days many years ago. Sadly, he is unable to carry out many of the duties which his developers and users want him to do anymore. To be honest, he never could get it right, which is why his creator spawned his nasty little, but effective, upstart, Edge. We are, of course, referring to Mr. I.E. who doesn’t even have a proper name really because so many confuse him with a mere file explorer. Being the antithesis of Edge, one would never believe that the two are brothers but being born out of very different blood. The slim elegant immaculate features of Edge’s attire against the dusty worn oversized suit of I.E.’s. Clearly, something was going on with Edge’s mother and King Chrome! It is often that Edge turns to I.E. and boasts that he can do things far better and more efficiently and threatens I.E. that he will just be another relic. One can almost feel a little sorry for I.E. but don’t worry. He once had his day as I will shortly allude to.
Two browsers down from I.E. is a browser who is decidedly different from the others. He is dead and now a mere skeleton. In fact, the other browsers have not bothered to remove it but rather to display it as a grim reminder to others that this is the fate of a browser if expectations are not met. Please play homage to the late Mr Netscape. He was an amiable sort of chap, but lost a fight with our once-supreme Mr. I.E., who is now fast asleep whilst still holding a half-finished glass of port. From time to time, when I.E. is awake, he will quietly snigger at the late Mr. Netscape. Mr. I.E. is the ‘Mr Grainger’ of browsers alluding to the classic British sitcom, Are You Being Served?.
In this room, which is quite a large one with a vast vaulting roof, there is a corner with a memorial plaque of all the dead browsers which have come and gone but something that immediately warrants attention is the gravestone protruding from the floor of the room with the words and epitaph, A.O.L. To whom we should ALL forget!
What do our browsers do in this massive room besides arguing, getting fatter, showing off or dying a slow death? They keep their eyes out on all their users to ensure they do not stray from choosing them to be their default browsers. They also sneakily throw little algorithms in other user’s machines to entice them to reconsider their default browsers. King Chrome, overly confident that he’s got the majority of users to his beck and call sits supremely while working with his minions to create more extensions and secret spies that embed into unsuspecting users’ machines. Safari sits in quiet contentment well-knowing that he has the might of Apple on his side; however, not being a supporter of openness, has been trying to press Apple hard to make Chrome an ‘illegal’ app in the Apple Realm. It is a constant battle. The lesser of the browsers don’t get much action save those users which are the die-hard enthusiasts, the geeks and those who wish obscurity and obfuscation. We almost forgot to mention Tor, a slim and shady character who often seems to vanish and suddenly to materialise in another part of the room. He is an enigma to the other browsers, but they all know that he harbours a userbase of nefarious disposition.
But the really flurry of activity starts when new computers are cranked up for the first time. THIS is where things get really heated in the Browser ‘War Room’ between Chrome, Edge, Safari and to a lesser extent, Firefox. The other browsers can really only look on and watch but they are keeping a watchful eye on what kind of user it is. Judging on the choice of software being downloaded, the other browsers have a fairly good indicator what kind of user it is. Will it be your average user who doesn’t give a hoot what kind of browser they will be using, or will it be that geeky techy who wants all the privacy and performance tweaks, or will it be the minimalist who suspects everything and believes everything is a conspiracy? This is where the others see their opportunity to pounce but often, particularly in the case of Tor, those special users will come to them. They need not worry. As for poor I.E., he has largely given up and King Chrome just gets greedier, fatter and becoming more festooned with trinkets and unnecessary appendages and extensions.
Those underperforming browsers or those nobody has heard of eventually die because, little may you realise this, all browsers get energy to survive by the number of active users. Also realise that when our browsers add features or add new extensions, they expend additional energy in speculation how many more users they are going to attract. Think of it like playing a video game with spaceships and having to choose to get that supergun but it will cost you some extra fuel. And then, if you haven’t capitalised on the use of your new features, in this case, the superguns you added, your spaceship runs out of fuel. That’s it. Gone. Game over. Join AOL in the corner.
Such is the life in the war room of the browsers and if they were real people, this is what it will be like.