Firefox for India - Epic Browser
We have a National anthem, a National Song, a National Animal, but for the first time India has a national browser - Epic web browser. Yup! built on Firefox, modified and tweaked by the developers of Hiddden Reflex, an India based startup, Epic Browser aims to meet the needs of the ever growing number of Indian web users.
A majority of web users in India still think that IE is the only way to connect to the online world. Most of them are still not aware of either Firefox or any other free or opensource alternatives. This is where Epic browser might prove to be very useful in both improving the browsing experience as well as educating the Indian users about alternate FOSS technologies.
Although the browser is not open source at the moment but in a talk with linuxers, Alok Bharadwaj, CEO of Hidden Reflex, said that some of their code is not open, but as a believer in open source development the company is planning to open source the whole thing soon.
Firefox with its addon family is already a complete browser, what else could have been added to improve the experience? Epic here introduces a sidebar which resides apps/widgets to provide quick access to various web/native system services. They may look like just another way to represent addons but the aim is a little different.
Applications like, built-in word processor, an Anti-virus(Epic is the first browser to boast about this capability), support for indian languages are specifically designed keeping in mind an average Indian web user.
Not just this, while talking to us, Alok even mentioned that the big picture is to take this firefox derivative to another step, which in browser's terminology means a road to a complete browser based operating system. He said
In terms of moving things to the cloud, we also believe in that future. Epic is itself a step in that direction with things like our File Backup App and you'll see some more akin leaps in that direction from us in the future.
This initiative by the startup reminds me of Ubuntu. How it adopted the giant Debian OS and is now the most widely used Linux Distribution. A sad news for Linuxers though - it runs on only windows now .
There are still a lot of improvements to be done in the browser. It certainly has a long way to go before rising as a competitive participant in the browser wars. But their initiative of taking Firefox to the next level and the attempt to introduce the biggest democracy in the world to open source technologies is marvellous. This is just the first release and as a fresh startup, we can expect a lot from these guys in later versions.