Last Updated on April 7, 2021 by Hamid Islam
Many of us may don’t know that popular web browsers have never been free before. 20-25 years ago, in order to use the web browser, the browser had to be bought and used with purchase. The NetScape web browser was first made free-to-use in 1998, and since then almost all web browsers have been offered for free. And now you can’t imagine any web browser without free. But web browsers are not programs or software that are so small.
The cost of developing and maintaining a web browser is also higher than most other large-scale applications. So why and how are companies like Google, Microsoft and Mozilla allowing everyone to use their web browsers for free? How are they generating profits from web browsers? Let’s discuss this today. Let’s take a look at how popular web browsers are generating profits right now that they can keep browsers completely free.
Let’s start with the business model of Google Chrome, currently the most popular web browser in the world. Google’s profit scheme here is very simple and clear. When you search by typing something, the search results will always be shown to you on Google, not Bing or any other search engine. And most of the time you will be shown sponsored content and ads on Google’s search results page. The bulk of Google’s total revenue comes from these ads and sponsored content on Google search results pages.
When you visit a website or a blog outside of the search results, most of the time the ads you see there are also ads served from Google AdSense. In other words, in addition to the search results ads, as many ads as you see on the Internet, almost all of the ads, Google makes some profit.
And when you are browsing all kinds of web browsers using Google Chrome web browser, being a web browser made by you, Google can easily find out about your browsing behavior and target specific ads based on your browsing behavior.
So if Google Chrome is not completely free, then all the users who are using Google Chrome every day would not be using Google Chrome. And if the number of Google Chrome users decreases, ultimately Google’s own ad revenue will decrease. So the only way to ensure Google’s own profit is to increase the users of Google Chrome. And that’s why Google Chrome has always been, is and will be free. Because, the biggest part of Google’s total profit comes from their Chrome browser.
The first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Firefox is non-profit. Mozilla Firefox is an open-source and non-profit organization product. In other words, Mozilla Corporation, the developer of Firefox, does not think of generating any profit from Firefox. That is, it is not their intention to generate revenue from the browser. However, as you can imagine, even if it is not their intention to generate profit, they make some profit.
How? Although Mozilla makes some income from user donations, it’s not much more than their development costs. Mozilla Firefox is the most profitable from Google. As you may know, Google is also the default search engine for Mozilla Firefox.
If you do not manually change the search engine from Firefox settings, you will get search results from Google even if you do some search in Firefox’s address bar. And we already know what is the benefit of Google if you visit the search results page of Google. So even if Firefox users use Google search, Google benefits.
And for this reason, Google pays Mozilla about half a billion US dollars or more every year so that Mozilla uses Google search as the default search engine of their Firefox browser. Because, if the default search results of Firefox are shown on Google, the profit that Google will get from it every year is much more than 1 billion dollars. So this is a good business deal for both Google and Mozilla. And most web browser users do not change their default search engine. So there is no loss of Google here. But now Mozilla is making some profit from some more micro-services. For example, Firefox VPN.
Microsoft’s Edge browser is just like Google Chrome. The difference is that Google Chrome is in Google’s ecosystem and Microsoft Edge is in Microsoft’s ecosystem. But the plan to make a profit from the browsers of the two companies is absolutely the same. Just like if you search for something in the address bar of Google Chrome, the results are shown using Google search engine, just like if you search for something in the address bar of Microsoft Edge browser, the search results are shown using Microsoft’s Bing search engine (if you don’t search).
Just as Google shows sponsored content and ads in their search results, so does Microsoft show ads in their Bing search results. So any user can actually profit from Microsoft in Bing search results. And just like that, Microsoft Corporation can make some profit from those Microsoft Edge users who are so ignorant that they can’t change the default search engine. And to be honest, Microsoft Edge is just a part of their Windows 10 operating system. So Microsoft doesn’t think of making any profit in that way apart from the Individual Edge browser.
Although not as popular as Brave Browser, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, it is currently gaining popularity due to its privacy-focused browsing initiative. But Brave Browser is not a non-profit project at all. Brave Browser also generates revenue through users. However, the Brave browser thinks a little differently about profit. Brave Browser usually blocks most trackers and ads on the Internet. However, Brave Browser has a special feature called BAT Cryptocurrency which is used as an in-house currency of Brave Browser.
Users can view some Brave Browser Specific Ads in different browsers while using Brave Browser and deposit this BAT currency instead of viewing Ads. You can then deposit this currency and tip his favorite websites on the internet.
Some of this tip is given to the website that was given the tip, and the rest is given to the developers of Brave Browser. And by exchanging these tokens with real world currencies, both the website creator and the Brave browser generate some extra revenue.
This method is not very effective for profit, as very few Brave browser users use the BAT token system regularly. Moreover, this facility of Brave Rewards is not yet available in many countries of the world. While not a groundbreaking contribution to the genre, Brave Browser continues to generate some revenue from this token system.
A few years ago, many Windows users used the Opera browser. However, the popularity of Opera browser has decreased a lot. No one uses the Opera browser, as Windows currently has many better options than Opera. Moreover, last year, Opera Corporation was charged with collecting user data, sending it to a Chinese server and promoting some loan scams. Due to this, the number of Opera users has decreased a lot. However, some desktop users still use Opera. Nothing is known for sure about the Opera business model.
However, websites that are featured in the form of tabs on the homepage in the Opera browser are definitely paid by Opera to be on the Opera homepage. In addition, Opera browses deals with many local smartphone companies in different countries to pre-install the Opera browser on their smartphones. Again, Opera may collect and sell user data with their built-in free proxy. Besides, not much is known about the profit source of Opera browser.