What is a browser?

Recently, Scott from Google went to Times Square and asked (on camera) random people, “What is a browser?” You can see the YouTube video here: http://youtu.be/o4MwTvtyrUQ

The answer is that a web browser is a piece of software that displays web pages.  More accurately, it is a software program that displays HTML content, but that’s going a bit geeky on you.

We frequently see users confusing the browser with the web page.  The comparison we make is that a web browser is like your radio or TV (remember those?); you can use the radio or TV to dial up a broadcast station and listen/watch.  You can tune the radio or TV to all kinds of different stations, but it doesn’t change the radio – just what you hear or see.   And like a TV, you can have more than one and more than one kind of radio, and use them all to listen to the various stations.

We also see people get confused about the difference between the browser and the browser configuration that picks which page(s) to load, by default, when the program starts up.  With all the browsers, you can configure it to start no page (blank page), or a particular page or set of pages when you start the browser program.  A lot of malware will try to change this page to display a different page, usually one you don’t want.

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