Taking a look at my RescueTime data for the past 4 weeks, I found that I spend more than half my time on a computer in a browser. Another 25% of my time is spent in Entourage, an allocation that I would gladly move to a browser if Outlook had a halfway decent WebKit experience. I live in the browser – a result of rich web apps that have taken ten years to evolve from a myriad of new technologies all starting with Ajax.
As a result of the time we spend in them, browsers are evolving to be essential platforms for developers, an idea incubated by Mozilla but catapulted forward by Chrome. Google’s operating system dedicated to the web is the key element. Given these trends, I have been reflecting on what browsers might do in the future that they do not today.
In a few months, I expect two big new feature sets to come from browsers that have me very excited:
- Social – it’s time for social to be integrated into the browser. Facebook Connect or OpenAuth single sign on integrated into the browser means true single sign on. Enter password when you boot your browser and then the rest of the web is unlocked. Single click sharing, effortless navigation and an entirely new experience of one, very important and secure password (or perhaps biometric authentication)
- Payments – one click payments across the web courtesy of a highly secure browser that holds credit cards in your local keychain. Or if Facebook Payments, Apple, Amazon or Paypal are forward thinking, payments will be delivered through the social integration in your browser.