Kilian Valkhof

Building tools that make developers awesome.

Which one of these is not a web browser?

Web, 25 October 2010, 2 minute read

Getting people to understand what we webdevelopers do can be hard. Just look at the infamous Google video asking people what a web browser is, with no one having a clue. OMG!Ubuntu! recently posted about something similar, where a question on the Indian “Who wants to be a millionaire” was “Which one of these is not a web browser?”. The choice was between Firefox, Opera, Facebook and Chrome. Did the contestant pick correctly?

screenshot of the television show

She did!

…But it took the entire audience.

What interested me though, is the conclusion OMG!Ubuntu! came with:

But dig a little deeper and people are actually a lot smarter than given credit for. Had those people […] been given a laptop and asked to log in to Facebook the majority would’ve managed it fine.

And that’s just it. Who cares if people don’t know the difference between a browser and a search engine. They can use their computers to visit your website, that’s awesome.


On Ubuntu (and mac OSX, too) the lines between a web app and a desktop app are blurring. You can use HTML + CSS + javascript to make desktop apps, and websites can be installed as if they were regular applications. With desktop and web apps blurring together, the concept of a browser is getting increasingly vague.

Knowing what a browser is isn’t important, it’s knowing how to use one that is.

Polypane browser for responsive web development and design Hi, I'm Kilian. I make Polypane, the browser for responsive web development and design. If you're reading this site, that's probably interesting to you. Try it out!