Once upon a time, animals — of the herbivorous kind — were happy grazing the land and eating health food. But once man got into the act, grass and herbs became scarce in the plains. The grazers soon had to set their sights higher — literally — and began scouting for taller plants so that they could nibble at their leaves. This practice of checking out various sites for food came to be known as browsing and the animals that indulged in browsing were collectively called browsers. Ancient records suggest that have been classified into five types, based on their behaviour:
Atavists: These animals browse only in places where their ancestors had browsed and do not seek greener pastures. Even if there were newer options, they wouldn’t try it. Why? Because they’re creatures of habit.
Zeitgeists: Like free spirits, they roam around with gay abandon, but stay in herds and stick to their family. The springbok is a classic example that comes to mind.
Universalists: They don’t stress on territorial domination like other browsers, but believe that life’s a journey that’s for free and that anyone can browse where they do.
Accommodationists: They’ll share, they’ll compromise, they’ll adjust — and there will never be any complaints. And they can afford to do so because their feeling of security is simply unmatched.
Cabalists: They’re the secretive type. They’ll be furtive and give away no indication that they’re browsing — yup, the ‘eat, shoot and leave’ types.
Technology, which has always borrowed so heavily from Nature — read artificial neural networks from the nervous system, auto-pilot navigation technology from pigeons, and velcro from burrs in plant seeds, amongst a zillion others — couldn’t resist taking a leaf out of this one. And that was how web browsers came to be. Soon, people began to be identified based on the browser they used.
Atavists: They use Internet Explorer — and only Internet Explorer. Why? Because they began their journey into the worldwide web using IE and have been with it for generations now, updating themselves with every version that has been released. Chances are, they’re using their office laptop and are not allowed to download anything without admin permission. But more importantly, they’ll never try, possibly because they have always been that way.
Zeitgeists: They’re ardent followers of Google Chrome. Like free spirits, they flit in and out of all Google products, making sure they always stick to the Google family. If the springbok is a classic representation of the browser (animal), the country it comes from is dominant in the logo of Chrome, with its rainbow colours. To zeitgeists, Google itself is a plus, so Google Plus simply multiplies their joy.
Universalists: They’re true Firefox loyalists and totally believe in the open source philosophy. That’s what makes them Universalists — the only code they hold on to is that every source code must be let go of.
Accommodationists: They’re staunch Safari fans. And just as the browser is designed both for the Mac and Windows OS, they’ll accommodate any opposing point of view. Adobe Flash may not work, but they’re ok with that. Some websites may not be configured to their browser — they’ll take that in their stride as well. The bottomline is, they know that the kind of security their browser gives them is simply unmatched.
Cabalists: They’re the Opera type, but without the theatrics. And yes, they’re the secretive type too. Opera allows them to trawl the depths of the web and download any kind of content, but keeps them safe and unseen. (Now you know where the phrase ‘stealth browsing’ came from!)
So which kind are you?
(Give & Tech is a fortnightly column on the lighter side of technology)