Robin Rendle
• San Francisco, California

A Web Browser Built for Me

Right now I feel like there’s no browser built just for me. All the options today are bloated, big, clunky; I reckon they’re all trying to do too much. Booting up Chrome today feels like moving a starship into orbit and being blasted by ads on reentry. Safari feels like both hands are tied behind my back. Edge is a weirdly capitalist (?) browser where I keep getting pinged about promotions and ways to save money by spending money. Firefox is fine (but it’s by far the saddest web browser, destined at any moment to leave you and disappear without a word).

What I want instead is an anarchist web browser.

What I’d really like to see is a browser that cuts things out, that takes things away from the web. Colors, fonts, confusion. Do you need an enormous JavaScript engine under the hood to power a modern web browser? I don’t think you do. Do you need all the extensions? All the latest CSS features? Nah, mate.

Throw away everything and start again and focus intensely about what people care about when it comes to the web. I think of the Kindle and what enormous potential that browser had to change our relationship with the internet, to push it towards a web that you read (instead of one that tries so very hard to read you).

I think a lot about how Nintendo doesn’t play the same game as Sony and Microsoft when it comes to their consoles. Do they need a super powered machine that ray traces the living heck out o everything? I don’t really think that anyone cares about whether the next Mario game has ray tracing or not. They only care that it’s really, really good. And technology alone does not a good game make.

I guess what I want here is the Addams Family of web browsers. The estranged child of web browsing. A web browser built for me.