When Google took a video camera to Times Square in 2009 and asked passers-by what a browser was, most of the answers were hilariously incorrect, from ‘‘a search engine’’ to ‘‘broadband’’ to ‘‘Yahoo.’’ But even if consumers are not so sure what Web browsers are (programs like Internet Explorer and Firefox), they have become a crucial business for tech companies such as Google and Microsoft. They are now the entry point not just to the Web but to everything stored online, such as Web apps, documents, and photos. And as the cloud grows more integral, for businesses and people, the browser companies are engaged in a new battle to win our allegiance that will affect how we use the Internet.
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