This OP is mostly some ranting along with information.
How did we get here? I blame both the Browser Wars
and Web 2.0
The Browser Wars, simply put, was a battle to dominate the web browser market between Internet Explorer and Netscape. While many others were in the running, the two top lions battled each other by adding additional features to become better than the competition. In the end, Netscape won, and it's engine carries on in Firefox.
Web 2.0 was an evolution of the internet, an upgrade trend that ended up taking off. It brought us things like micro-blogging, social medias, and user generated content. Around this time, corporations started realizing how much they could profit off of the internet.
Both of these things combined what I believe to be the downfall of the Internet. By downfall, I mean the decrease in the quality of the experience for the end-user to browse the internet. The Browser Wars added a mash of features for both browsers, lots of them being used today. They were hurried in and while they functioned fine at first, promoted a bloated internet browsing experience. Web 2.0 brought on the corporate advertising and privacy-invasion that we have today for monetary gain. Both of those combined brought us sites that take ages to load but also gain a profit from us loading their page because of tracking cookies and advertisements. While attempts have been made to make this experience better, it is still very much a mess to this day.
Now, onto the big deal: Browsers themselves.
I hate modern web browsers. None of them are good enough to run the modern web and none of them are secure or respect your privacy at all. All browsers that actually respect your privacy or right to security lose a ton of features in the process. It's a nightmare. You might be reading this going "Well I use Opera, it's a good browser" but you don't realize you are just running Chrome with extra steps.
Remember when I said this?:
This rings so true, it hurts. While there are many different web-browsers, there are only 3 major web engines. What's a web-engine? Well, it's the core of a web-browser. Web-engines are in control of parsing and processing the web. Every web-browser out there is just a skin with features slapped onto a web-engine. The three major web-engines are Blink, Gecko, and WebKit. Blink is used by any Chromium-based browsers, Gecko is a Firefox engine, and WebKit is forced on iOS devices and is used primarily by Apple.
All of these have their pros and cons, but the big ones (Blink and Gecko) phone home constantly. While Blink has been hell for a long while now, only Gecko has recently gotten bad on this nightmare. It's nearly impossible today to use a decent browser and not be left behind.
So, what's left? There are some projects that are trying to make their own engine. NetSurf
, while still in active development, has seen better days and is definitely aging. Servo
intends to be a better replacement to web-embeded applications, but it's still got a lot to go. Right now, it just seems like the web-browser market is riddled with nightmares, and I wanna have hope for the future of the web but all this talk about "Web3" and "crypto" makes me believe otherwise.
Now, I have not talked about WebKit yet, and it's because I feel like this is a place where Apple is a good guy. Both Blink and Gecko phone home and/or have proprietary code required for them that you don't get the source code for. WebKit on the other hand, is entirely open-source. Never phones home, can be entirely forked, and is fast and efficient. It's a good enough engine that Blink is actually a fork of it, and WebKit itself was a fork on KHTML (a now outdated engine). It still isn't perfect, but I prefer it over the other two. The big problem though is it's lack of browsers. There is quite a few browsers that use it (Opera pre-12 used it), but their features are lackluster and primitive at best. It's an upsetting pile of sadness.
And that concludes my TED talk on why today, the web is a mess. Can't even run Youtube well on a decade old machine.
Feel free to add to the discussion or mention your favorite browser. I would love a new one. Been using Falkon lately, reluctently with the Blink engine. Literally calls trackers loading the audio and video elements, I've got that blocked. Also feel free to link any websites about this subject.