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Saying Goodbye to Internet Explorer: Sad To See You Go

internet explorer browser

by Ellen Blake

The end of an era

I feel like I am losing an old friend. The end of the Internet Explorer browser after 26 years signals the formal end to those early days of the internet. Those were amazing times.

I was in my early thirties when the technical support team at work installed Internet Explorer (I.E.) in our bulky desktop computers. The popular browser launched officially on August 16, 1995 as part of Windows 95 and by early September we had access at the university where I worked. This exciting, new and almost magical new technology offered a convenient way to search online. Before browsers, we logged on to the computer by typing hypertext on a dark screen, which was not particularly intuitive or user-friendly. 

In 1995, the internet was still in its infancy. Websites looked like word documents with gray or white backgrounds.  Images were basically nonexistent. According to a Pew Research Center poll in June that year, only 14% of Americans said they used the web. Today, 90% report using the internet. In those days, we all referred to the online world as the “world wide web”. I very rarely hear people use that term anymore. Most refer to it as “the web” or simply say they are going “online”. I’m not sure young people under age 20 even know that the www in front of a domain name is an acronym for “world wide web”.

Why did Internet Explorer browser have to die?

Microsoft did not regularly update I.E. and the competition grew over the years. Other browsers such as Google Chrome and Firefox came along offering better browsing experiences. In fact, websites that looked great on other browsers often did not look right on I.E. and many people stopped using it. I am probably one of the few people that kept it on my computer in addition to Chrome for old times sake. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

Nostalgic memories of the early days with Internet Explorer

What do you remember from those early days? I think back to the hours I spent looking for books online on a website called Amazon.com. Remember when Amazon only sold books? And Yahoo, which started as a directory of other websites organized in a hierarchy, emerged a site that helped us newbies navigate online. It’s original name was “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web”, which changed in 1995 to Yahoo, an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchically Organized Oracle”. AltaVista was the ultimate search engine at that time before Google entered the picture.

Palm pilots, the first packable computer, the usb, a way to connect other devices to a computer, and RealAudio, the service that kickstarted streaming over the internet, were among the many intriguing innovations also developed in 1995. The technological advances fed on each other. It was the year everything changed. We’ve come a long way since then with new technology developing from that point on at lightening speed. 

Where do we go from here?

Microsoft encourages people to switch to Microsoft Edge which will offer support and backward capability on Windows 11 for legacy sites until at least 2029. 

Will you switch? I am on the fence. While I kept I.E. on my computer all this time, in reality I mostly use google chrome. It works well and is already setup the way I like it. But it sounds like the new Microsoft Edge is worth considering as it looks to be one of the fasted browsers yet.

Here’s the deal. The new Microsoft Edge is different; According to DigitalTrends.com it has a clean, easy to understand interface and offers a more secure and modern experience. Upon testing, DigitalTrends.com found it was faster than old Edge and less taxing on the CPU (central processing unit) than Chrome. It’s available for download on Windows and Mac.  What’s different in the new version is that it’s built on the same basic open-source platform as google chrome, which encourages fast browsing and good performance.

The bottom line

Sadly, the death of Internet Explorer signifies a formal end to the early days of the internet. Technology moves quickly and it will likely be forgotten altogether in a few years. Personally, though, I won’t forget the good old days with I.E. I loved watching the evolution of the world wide web and learned so much through the years.

Will I morn the extinction of this particular platform though? I don’t think so. It seems I.E. survived as long as it did not because we loved it, but because some programs couldn’t work without it. It’s been a long time coming and I think it’s time to finally say goodbye to the Internet Explorer browser.

 

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