Illustration: Unibrowser SMNEWS, CORPORATE NEWS

Multitasking as bad for business as data breaches, says maker of “Unibrowser”

(MOUNTAIN VIEW, CA -- April 1, 2017)  A revolutionary “one-tab” web browser that aims to dramatically improve focus and productivity of internet users has been introduced by Silicon Valley-based Authentic8.

Named the “Unibrowser”, the new distraction-free browsing environment was developed based on the latest neuroscience and mindfulness research. Its core feature is one single tab. It has been streamlined for users to exercise restraint when they access the web, and to force focus on the task at hand, instead of multi-tasking.

The launch of the Unibrowser marks a radical departure from industry’s multi-tabbed browser model, which dates back to 1997 and has been blamed for many of modern society’s ills. Authentic8 touts its new browser as a tool to fight “task inflation” and to achieve measurable  “attention deficit reduction.”

“Current browsers don’t provide users with clear choices,” said Scott Petry, co-founder and CEO of Authentic8. Decrying what he called the “aberration of multi-tabbing,” he said: “On the web, it’s all about making the right choices, and the Unibrowser is the first modern tool of its kind to offer the sort of binary choice that today’s users of digital technology really crave.”

“Just look at the waste. Sad! All those open tabs, so many tabs. No wonder nobody gets [expletive] done anymore. It’s a total disgrace.” The Unibrowser, the company asserts, will be the way to push for productivity and make the internet great again. Petry: “One tab, or no tab at all.”

Authentic8 (the famous maker of Silo, the secure virtual browser in the cloud) based its new product on a broad range of scientific studies conducted at Stanford University, the University of Sussex in the U.K., and the University of Toronto in Canada, among others.

According to Authentic8, the company developed the Unibrowser to meet the strict specifications of the American Psychological Association, which warned: “Doing more than one task at a time, especially more than one complex task, takes a toll on productivity.”

Taking a stand against multitasking: the single-tab Unibrowser (screenshot). Source: Authentic8

Taking a stand against multitasking: the single-tab Unibrowser (screenshot). Source: Authentic8

Authentic8 says it was alarmed by the neurological factors that drive this productivity slump. Keeping multiple tabs open when surfing the web, research indicates, may result in imminent brain decay.

“High media multi-tasking,” reported British scientists Kep Kee Loh and Dr. Ryota Kanai, “is associated with smaller gray-matter density in the anterior cingulate cortex.”

Authentic8 says it invented the new browser to reverse this trend, and to prevent further internet-induced brain deterioration. The company points to five main advantages of the Unibrowser’s innovative single-tab architecture:

  • “Single Mind, Single Tab” (SMST) technology for true WYSIWYG without distraction; users can experience increased mindfulness by opening one tab, and sticking with it - without the temptation of switching to other tabs.
  • Worry-free Web Work (WWW) environment - no more multi-tasking missteps, such as accidentally closing the wrong tab.  
  • Best-of-breed browser security: Unibrowser removes the attack surface for cross-tab exploits, without requiring extra and potentially risky “mindful browsing” or “tab manager” plugins.
  • Blazing fast speed - even on outdated hardware - due to lower bandwidth consumption.
  • More focus and productivity - less anterior cingulate cortex decay.

Other leading browser makers, concerned about the effects of web multi-tasking,  are now following Authentic8’s lead. The most recent release of Google’s Chrome browser, for example, throttles background tabs to 1% CPU.

Google has announced that the Chrome browser will cut off inactive browser tabs from processing resources completely in 2018.

“While we congratulate Google for this step in the right direction,” said Petry, “even one percent is too much. We favor the Unibrowser approach: zero percent CPU allocated to subsidiary tabs.” 

Industry analysts forecast that “uni-browsing” will soon replace browser multi-tasking and multi-tabbing. Most agree that the watershed moment for contemporary browser development arrived in late 2016, when Viel E. Fensterman II., a freshman at Stanford University, was found slumped over his laptop with 1,347 browser tabs open, suffering from severe mental exhaustion while working on a term paper for his graduate course in Advanced Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics.

An anxiety attack was reported as the likely cause, triggered by the computer’s slowdown due to open tabs that were found to contain numerous Reddit discussion threads, YouTube videos, Slack messages, and unspecified “adult content.”

Only one tab out of the 1,347 appeared to be related to his coursework.

“We think that new times require a browbeat approach to how users access the web,” Petry added. “I mean, 1,347 open tabs, really? It’s out of control, a huge disaster.” The Unibrowser, proclaimed Petry, “will put an end to this multi-tabbing madness once and for all, one tab at a time.”

The company acknowledges that its Unibrowser approach has raised eyebrows in some quarters, even angered a self-help group of proud “Multi-Tabbies” on Reddit.

Photo: Bert Kahlo, Head of Unibrowser Development at Authentic8

But as the Authentic8 CEO points out, the Unibrowser is already attracting attention far beyond the Silicon Valley community. Based on its unique and flexible SaaS licensing model, the company offers individual consumers who are not yet fully prepared for the binary choice of “uni-browsing” the option of purchasing a multi-user licence.

In the multi-user model, users can wean themselves off of multiple-tab browsing by purchasing several licenses and opening a separate Unibrowser for each tab they wish to visit.

Following encouraging results from initial field tests and to meet business demands that require more than one browser tab open at a time, the Unibrowser also comes in an Enterprise Edition,  which includes the capability of adding extra tabs - at a premium.

Enterprise users can choose the flexible “Pay-Per-Tab” pricing model, which is calculated dynamically and billed directly to a corporate charge card on a “per seat, per tab, per minute” basis.

To avoid defeating the single-tab browser’s initial purpose and to meet the needs of budget-conscious organizations, the Unibrowser makers included an ingenious feature, called Unibrowser 1-900, which was inspired by a commercially lucrative technological offering from the Eighties.

The patent-pending 1-900 capability of the Unibrowser allows IT to activate pop-up reminders about accumulating open-tab charges (feature not available for organizations with fewer than 50,000 users), and to have the tab toll automatically taken out of the user’s paycheck. Authentic8 also announced APIs that integrate Unibrowser with most payroll and payment solution providers.

Photo: Syno Phrys, Unibrowser Community Manager at Authentic8

At investor meetings in Silicon Valley last week, financial analysts hailed this new 1-900 capability of the Unibrowser as the “Golden Key” to overcome future bandwidth cost challenges, should the FCC abandon “net neutrality,” as politicians have threatened.

A whitepaper about the Unibrowser for post-net neutrality startups, “One Tab at a Dime: How the Unibrowser Will Help American Companies Pay for Internet Bandwidth When Employees Access the Web,” is available through the FCC.

A free single user version of the Unibrowser was available here (limited edition, April 1st only)\ . Users can select from three different browser skins: “Frida Kahlo“, “Anthony Davis”, and the minimalistic “Bert”.