In Pictures: The 10 most important milestones in Web browser history

Okay, say you have this shiny new car. It looks great, it performs like a demon, it features all the latest safety gadgets, and it's crawling with creature comforts. Just one problem, though. The local tinkerer, clearly consumed by jealousy, comes by sometime during the night to disassemble the entire thing. Sitting in the middle of a zillion bits and pieces the next morning, you quickly realize how totally useless this marvelously complicated car has become. This is the Internet without a browser. Far more than the blank slate it appears to be, a Web browser is ridiculously sophisticated and entirely capable of morphing the code-crazed reality of the Internet into the Matrix-like façade we now can't live without.

Mosaic, 1993 If you were actively geeky during the rise of the Internet, you undoubtedly remember Mosaic. To many, it was the first sign that something worthwhile was out there beyond their own computer. Developed by the University of Illinois' National Center for Supercomputing Applications, Mosaic was both widely available and refreshingly free of techno mumbo-jumbo. It was the first browser to display text and images together, the first to adopt the layout still favored by today's browsers, and the first to run comparatively easily on Microsoft computers. The Internet itself being in the midst of its coming-of-age party certainly didn't hurt.

Mosaic remained intensely popular for several years and would eventually form the bedrock for the Web's dominant '90s browser.

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