What to Expect from Browsers in the Next Five Years: A Perspective

Moderated by:
Dion Almaer (Set Direction)
Ben Galbraith (Google), Douglas Crockford (Author), Brendan Eich (JavaScript), Charles McCathieNevile (Opera Software), Alex Russell (Google), Giorgio Sardo (Microsoft Corporation)
Location: 2006 Level:
Average rating: ****.
(4.21, 42 ratings)

There is no greater time than this to discuss what browsers will look like in the future. We are at a point where the browser is the most important piece of software you will ever use and it is moving to platforms other than just your desktop: in places like your mobile device, your TV, your game console and even your refrigerator.

As browser technology advances and with the emergence of so many competitors what new innovations will we see? Will the same players dominate on mobile devices as the ones on desktop? What will be some of the features that will be important for users? Is it speed or security? Or something else? One vision of the future is the browser controlling all your devices: TVs, home automation, microwave, fridge, etc.

Browser makers are taking Web standards more seriously and it will be interesting to watch which specifications will be implemented by who in the coming years– more precisely HTML5, CSS3 and SVG. What kind of advances will we see in rendering engines and JavaScript engines in the next couple of years?

Top players in the browser world come together on one panel to butt heads and predict the future of browsers.

Photo of Dion Almaer

Dion Almaer

Set Direction

Dion Almaer is the founder of a brand new company named Set Direction where he has the pleasure of working with Ben Galbraith. The pair co-founded Ajaxian.com together and they are now focused on helping developers deliver fantastic experiences and working to set the direction of the software industry as a whole.

Dion has been a technologist and a developer writing Web applications since it took over from Gopher. He has been fortunate enough to speak around the world, has published many articles, a book, and of course covers life the universe and everything on his blog at almaer.com/blog.

He has been called a human aggregator, and you can see that in full force if you follow him on Twitter @dalmaer.

Photo of Ben Galbraith

Ben Galbraith


Ben Galbraith is the head of product and developer relations for Google’s Developer Product group. Prior to Google, Ben has alternated between entrepreneurial and executive roles across companies in many industries, such as Mozilla, Palm/HP, and Walmart. He lives in Palo Alto with his wife and eight children.

Photo of Douglas Crockford

Douglas Crockford


Douglas Crockford is best known for having discovered that there are good parts in JavaScript—an important and unexpected development. He also discovered the JSON data-interchange format, the world’s best-loved data format, and various JavaScript tools, such as JSLint and JSMin. He works at PayPal.

Photo of Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich


Brendan Eich was founder and long-term CTO at Mozilla. He also served as SVP of engineering and briefly as CEO. Brendan is widely recognized for his enduring contributions to the Internet revolution. In 1995, he invented JavaScript (ECMAScript), the Internet’s most widely used programming language. He cofounded the Mozilla.org project in 1998, serving as chief architect, and has been a board member of the Mozilla Foundation since its inception in 2003. Brendan helped launch the award-winning Firefox web browser in November 2004 and Thunderbird email client in December 2004.

Brendan holds a BS in math and computer science from Santa Clara University and an MS in computer science from the University of Illinois.

Charles McCathieNevile

Opera Software

Charles McCathieNevile (better known to the world as “chaals”) has been Chief Standards Officer at Opera since 2005, and is responsible for Opera’s leading role in ensuring that the best of Web development is available to the world in the form of open standards. With more than two decades of experience in both commercial and academic hypertext systems, his personal interests are broad but include accessibility of the web to all people from all devices, and better ways to make information help people reach more of their goals more easily. He is co-chair of the W3C WebApps working group, and involved personally in several W3C working groups. Before joining Opera Charles worked on the Staff of W3C. In his spare time he is Vice President of the Iberoamerican Web accessibility group Sidar, tries to learn languages, and cooks.

A constant traveller, he currently speaks English, French, Spanish, Italian (but not very well), and is still learning Norwegian, Portuguese and Russian. Originally from Australia, he would like to see every country in the world and eat dinner in them all, but has so far only managed about a quarter of them.

Photo of Alex Russell

Alex Russell


Alex Russell is a Staff Software Engineer on Chrome team at Google where he designs new features for the Web Platform and leads Chrome’s Standards work. He’s a member of ECMA TC39 , the committee standardizing JavaScript, and is an elected member of the W3C’s Technical Architecture Group where he works to improve the state of API design for the web.

His recent projects include Web Components, ES6 features including Classes and Promises, and Service Workers. Previously he helped build Chrome Frame and led the Dojo Toolkit project. Alex plays for Team Web.

Photo of Giorgio Sardo

Giorgio Sardo

Microsoft Corporation

Giorgio Sardo is a Sr. Technical Evangelist at Microsoft, focused on HTML5 and Internet Explorer. He loves working with the community, pushing the limits of technology and solving complex challenges. In 2006 he won the Imagine Cup worldwide championship with a futuristic project; one year later he has been nominated Best Consultant of the Year from the British Computer Society. Early 2009 Giorgio moved to the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond to focus on the future of the Web. Giorgio is a popular speaker worldwide and in the last 5 years he has presented at many conferences about HTML5, the Web and Mobile Platform. He is the mind behind many beautiful HTML5 applications and games at www.beautyoftheweb.com.

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Picture of Elaine Rudis-Jackson
Elaine Rudis-Jackson
05/09/2010 7:00am PDT

Dittos John Fukuda, another hour would have been great. I thought that hearing from these guys’ real-world perspective juxtaposed to the promises of HTML 5 was very enlightening.

Picture of Dion Almaer
Dion Almaer
05/07/2010 7:42am PDT

Thanks for all of the comments. Much appreciated. I wish we had more time. We didn’t get into Open Video or many other things… thanks SO much to the panel members for coming.

John Fukuda
05/07/2010 7:26am PDT

Excellent panel. It could have continued for another hour and still been very interesting.

Picture of Len De Groot
Len De Groot
05/07/2010 3:47am PDT

One of the highlights of the entire conference.

Picture of Michael Smith
Michael Smith
05/06/2010 10:38am PDT

This was an interesting panel. Great speakers. As a web strategist and developer, this is the type of info that helps me plan long range.

Nelson Segura
05/05/2010 8:42am PDT

We need more sessions like this in Web 2 Expo, at least in the development track.

William McCormick
05/05/2010 7:32am PDT

Its rare you can go listen to individuals engaged in these products talking in a public forum in a fairly candid and non-confrontational manner. I really enjoyed this. They did even manage to sneak in some MS and Apple bashing

Picture of Brett Lider
Brett Lider
05/04/2010 8:02am PDT

*hear [ugh]

Picture of Brett Lider
Brett Lider
05/04/2010 8:01am PDT

I here that my colleague Alex Russell, who works on WebKit, will be on the panel. Concern: addressed. Thanks for reaching out, Brady.

Picture of Brett Lider
Brett Lider
05/04/2010 7:27am PDT

Suggestion: recruit someone who is contributing code back to WebKit. The panel seems incomplete without WebKit representation. Regardless, I will be at this session. It should be interesting.

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