Open Thread: What do You Want From a Browser?


We’ve written about Firefox, covered avant-garde niche browsers, and looked at the impending Google Chrome launch. But there’s a sizable community whose browser opinions we haven’t looked at: you, the web working public. When was the last time someone asked you what you wanted in a browser, as opposed to just handing you a new piece of whizbang software and telling you you’d love it?

Well, here’s your chance. Forget about Firefox extensions and IE rendering modes and Safari speed and Opera standards-compliance for the moment, and imagine you’ve got a line into the development teams. What features are you missing in the current crop of browsers that would actually make your life easier and more productive? What promises do you wish they’d deliver on? What would make you switch to a new browser for your own web work?



Full text search of my history (not just the URL/title), so i don’t have to retrace my google steps days later to figure out where I saw X,Y and Z. Why does this not exist already?

Bob K

I want my browser to be less helpful, until I ask it for something. I don’t need it to pre-surf for me, or tell me that some web site might be dangerous (which means it told somebody where I went!), automatically fill out forms or correct my spelling, or ask me more than once about an expired SSL certificate. I just want it to show me the web page I asked for.

That, and it should block ads that make sounds.

Mike Gale

Good topic.

I’d like to see some of the following:

1) Some of the things now showing up in XHTML 5, here now and on all browsers. Things like meter, time, mark, SVG, canvas, persistent sessions (at least from the server), plus the usual suspects like header, footer, aside, menu/command etc. Then a bit beyond that to smart header/menu capabilities that respond to the URL identity. (Sliders, heirachical directories etc. all in compiled code ready to use.)

2) An easy way to program a browser to do what I want independent of the browser. I’m not talking some crippled system that runs at one thousandth the speed of compiled. I mean a system that can grab any browser API/programming model (needs a new version of browser detection!) and use it for what I want. Totally free of the programming compromises and designs that have influenced those who have the endurance to use the current programming models. (I hate it when somebody decides that all browser users are dufi and treats them that way!) If I decide to use Javascript I can, if I decide to use VBScript I can, if I decide to use J… F#… I can.

3) I’d use the programmatic access to achieve a decent evaluation of web content, with speed and productivity. That would help shelter me better from a welter of flaky, useless sites that I all too often visit again.

4) I would also get a better way to integrate browsing with my work flow…

5) Be able to ditch bookmarks forever and use a properly designed system (in my opinion) not conceptually crippled by the heirarchical/OO mindset.

6) That’s enough for now I have work to do.


I think – and this may sound too easy – the most important feature to me inside of Firefox is the spell check. VERY important for all things web related. If I misspell something, it’s going to reflect on me. So the advanced spell checker on Firefox is a huge advantage.

I would like to see a new bookmarking system. I’m curious to see what Chrome has for bookmarking, because I have a big mess of bookmarks. It’s not too hard to put things into new and separate folders, but it seems as though there could be something a little more sophisticated and integrated within the actual browser (though there are programs out there, I’d prefer to have it within the browser, I suppose).

NoteScribe: Premier Note Taking Software


Web workers are the kinds who typically have pimped out browsers over the years. Specially FF users.

I can’t imagine a power FF user trying to painlessly migrate his web life to a completely new browser.

Personally, I’m a Camino user on Mac and plan to stay that way for some time.


I haven’t seen Google Chrome yet as of this writing. But their sorting out the permissions and priorities of the process is just what I call number one. My worst gripe is having one amateurish application paralyze all my tabs and all my windows and all my processes, which misses every point of modular design. Why do I have to look at a stupid hourglass when I am trying to move the focus away from the challenged tab? Why do I have to resort to violence in the Task Manager and/or reboot to ward off assault in one tab?

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