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The first web browser to challenge Internet Explorer’s reign of chaos and insecurity was Firefox, and today the browser celebrates its eighth birthday.
In 2002, a beta version of the web browser Phoenix launched. It developers wanted to give users a better Internet browsing experience than what Internet Explorer could offer, which was the only major browser available at the time (aside from the Mac-specific Safari browser). Two years later, the full version of the web browser was officially released under the name Firefox, on November 9th, 2004.
Internet Explorer 6 was the browser to beat in 2004. The browser has become notorious for its outrageous security flaws that put all of its users at risk every time the program was opened. As the first real, competitive browser alternative, Firefox did a great job of commandeering some of I.E.’s market share, but sometimes the price of paving the way is high.
Emboldened by Firefox’s success, other companies began making their own browsers too. Google Chrome has become the second most popular browser used on the Internet today, usurping the spot from Firefox. Arguably, Chrome wouldn’t even be here without Firefox charging ahead eight years ago. That’s not to downplay the success or usability of Chrome, it’s simply a quick homage to its predecessor.
Firefox isn’t taking the shift down to third most popular browser lying down, however. In future iterations of the browser, Firefox plans to include what Mozilla developers are calling the Social API. Facebook and other social networks will be integrated right into the browser for users’ convenience. The company also already has a version ready to launch on Windows 8.