Google Revamps WhatBrowser.org, Suggests Safari to Android Users

The new site could be informative, but if fails in some cases

By on October 25th, 2012 08:24 GMT

As Google is quick to point out, when Chrome came out, plenty of people didn't even know what a web browser was. They had IE and they used it, they didn't even imagine that there was another way.

Since then, Chrome has become the most popular browser in the world, by some measurements, but it wouldn't be that surprising to find that most people still have no idea that there's an option.

That's how WhatBrowser.org came about. The site detected your browser, showed what it could do and what you were missing out on.

The goal, obviously, was to get people to use Chrome, but the site was useful.

Four years later, a lot of people use Chrome, on the desktop. The browser wars have moved to the mobile landscape. Seemingly, there's a greater variety of browsers on the mobile front than on desktops.

Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Dolphin and several others are battling out, along with the native browser in Android and Safari on iOS.

But despite the large number of browsers available for mobile devices, the vast majority of people still use the default one.

Which is why Google revamped WhatBrowser.org. The site has been completely rewritten in HTML5, it's not a very complex site so it wasn't much of a hassle. It's also built to work on mobile devices, here's where the dynamic HTML5/CSS3 design comes in handy.

The site relies on user agent data for detection, so it should be accurate unless you're spoofing your user agent. But if you're doing that, you're not in the target audience for the site.

All of this would be well if the site actually worked properly. While the mobile version of the site is served for the default Android browser, the desktop version is displayed in Firefox 18 Aurora for Android.

The browser is detected properly, so it wouldn't be much of a problem. But the desktop version of the site suggests browsers such as IE, Safari or Chrome, the desktop versions at that, which, obviously, don't work on mobile devices.

The fact that the site doesn't check the operating system is a problem too if you're using Linux or Mac OS X, suggestions such as Safari or IE respectively are going to be useless and, worse, confusing to people who are using the site as an information tool.

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