We’ve talked before about how there are terms that are very familiar to some people that are completely puzzling to others.

One, I’ve discovered, is the word ‘browser.’ A lot of people know exactly what it means, but others are completely puzzled when someone from tech support says, “Restart the browser.” or “What browser are you using.” I remember giving some instructions to my aunt once that didn’t seem to help, only to discover that she thought the term ‘browser’ meant the mouse.

The trouble is that many people don’t like ask questions if they don’t know what it means because some people can be pretty jerky if they find out you don’t understand a term that’s familiar to them. And don’t think I’m pointing the finger at senior citizens. I asked a young friend with a smartphone issue what browser he was using and he said, “I dunno, I just hit the Internet button.”

If you aren’t completely familiar with the term, I’ll explain it a bit more below. If you are familiar with the term, it’s a good reminder to remember that some people aren’t. So when you’re giving instructions, be patient and be clear.

A browser is a program that allows you to use the Internet. You turn on your device and then select an icon like the ones shown below to go online.

browser-icon

Now for many folks these days, their browser may be the only app they ever open on their PC. You might go straight online to check mail and read the news or watch a video.

Popular browsers include Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Microsoft Edge as well as Safari. You can’t run every browser on every operating system. You might choose to run Chrome on a Windows, Mac, or Linux operating system. But you won’t be able to run Internet Explorer or Edge on anything but a Windows computer. Plus, Edge only runs on Windows 10.

chrome-desktop.jpg

Chrome is the most popular browser, it’s used on both PCs, Macs, and mobile devices. The default browser for Mac computers is Safari.

The most popular browsers for phones and tablets are Chrome for Android devices and Safari for iPhones and iPads.

It’s important to know which browser you use because they all have slightly different settings. So, if someone is giving you instructions, they’ll vary according to which browser you’re using.

If you aren’t sure which browser you use, let’s try to ID by the icon you click to open them.

Here’s Chrome

chrome-logo-square

Internet Explorer

inter-explorer-square.jpg

Firefox

firefoxsquare

Microsoft Edge

edge-icon

And here’s Safari

safari-icon.jpg

If you still aren’t exactly sure what browser means, hit me up with any questions you have.