Google Chrome (commonly known simply as Chrome) is a freeware web browser developed by Google LLC. It was first released on September 2, 2008, for Microsoft Windows, and was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS and Android. Google Chrome is also the main component of Chrome OS, where it serves as a platform for running web apps.
Google releases the majority of Chrome’s source code as the Chromium open-source project; however, Chrome itself is proprietary software. One component that is not open-source is the built-in Adobe Flash Player (that Chrome has disabled by default since September 2016). Chrome used the WebKit layout engine until version 27. As of version 28, all Chrome ports except the iOS port use Blink, a fork of the WebKit engine.
As of 2018, StatCounter estimates that Google Chrome has a 66% worldwide usage share of web browsers as a desktop browser. It also has 56% market share across all platforms combined, because it has over 50% share on smartphones; and thus Chrome is the most used browser in virtually all countries (most exceptions in Africa). Its success has led to Google expanding the “Chrome” brand name on various other products such as Chrome OS, Chromecast, Chromebook, Chromebit, Chromebox and Chromebase
Opera is a web browser for Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems developed by Norwegian company Opera Software AS. It uses the Blink layout engine. An earlier version using the Presto layout engine is still available and runs on FreeBSD systems.
Opera was conceived at Telenor as a research project in 1994 and was bought by Opera Software in 1995. Initially a commercial web browser, Opera became freeware in 2005. Before 2013, Opera used the Presto layout engine. The Presto versions of Opera received 13 different awards. In 2013, Opera changed its layout engine to Blink, the layout engine of its competitor Google Chrome. These new versions were criticized for lacking popular user interface elements and for the layout engine change.
In 2016, Opera Software AS was sold to a Chinese consortium. The parent company, the similarly named Opera Software ASA, changed its name to Otello Corporation.
Mozilla Firefox (or simply Firefox) is a free and open-source web browser developed by Mozilla Foundation and its subsidiary, Mozilla Corporation. Firefox is available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and BSD operating systems. Its sibling, Firefox for Android, is available for Android. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards. In 2016, Firefox began incorporating new technology under the code name Quantum to promote parallelism and a more intuitive user interface. An additional version, Firefox for iOS, was released on November 12, 2015, due to platform restrictions, it uses the WebKit layout engine instead of Gecko, as with all other iOS web browsers.
Firefox was created in 2002 under the codename “Phoenix” by the Mozilla community members who desired a standalone browser, rather than the Mozilla Application Suite bundle. During its beta phase, Firefox proved to be popular with its testers and was praised for its speed, security, and add-ons compared to Microsoft‘s then-dominant Internet Explorer 6. Firefox was released on November 9, 2004, and challenged Internet Explorer‘s dominance with 60 million downloads within nine months. Firefox is the spiritual successor of Netscape Navigator, as the Mozilla community was created by Netscape in 1998 before their acquisition by AOL.
Firefox usage grew to a peak of 32% at the end of 2009, temporarily making version 3.5 the world’s most popular browser. Usage then declined in competition with Google Chrome. As of March 2018, Firefox has 11.6% usage share as a “desktop” browser, according to StatCounter, making it the second most popular such web browser; usage across all platforms is lower at 5.44% (and then 4th most popular overall). Firefox is still the most popular desktop browser in Cuba (even most popular overall at 62.77%) and Eritrea with 78.3% and 91% of the market share, respectively. According to Mozilla, as of December 2014, there were half a billion Firefox users around the world.