A curious guide to browsers and the web

Twenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee published his proposal for the World Wide Web. Today, the web is an explosion of pages and apps teeming with videos, photos and interactive content. These powerful new web experiences—such as “The Wilderness Downtown,” our HTML5 collaboration with the band Arcade Fire—are possible thanks to cutting-edge web technologies that bring all this content to life in the modern browser.

But how do browsers and the web actually work? What is HTML5—or HTML, for that matter? What do terms like “cookies” or “cloud computing” even mean? More practically, how can we keep ourselves safe from security threats like viruses when we’re online?

To help answer these questions, we collaborated with the wonderful illustrator Christoph Niemann to publish an online guidebook called “20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web.” This handy guide is for those of us who’d like to better understand the technologies we use every day.


“20 Things” is written by the Chrome team, and continues our tradition of finding new ways to help explain complex but fascinating ideas about technology. Many of the examples used to illustrate the features of the browser refer back to Chrome.

We built “20 Things” in HTML5 so that we could incorporate features that hearken back to what we love about books—feeling the heft of a book’s cover, flipping a page or even reading under the covers with a flashlight. In fact, once you’ve loaded “20 Things” in the browser, you can disconnect your laptop and continue reading, since this guidebook works offline. As such, this illustrated guidebook is best experienced in Chrome or any up-to-date, HTML5-compliant modern browser.

For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web and browsers but may have been afraid to ask, read on at www.20thingsilearned.com (or, you can use the handy shortened URL at goo.gl/20things). If you find “20 Things” informative, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!

Posted by Min Li Chan, Product Marketing Manager, Google Chrome

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