What Does Mosaic Mean?

Mosaic is a web browser for accessing files, graphics and other documents on the World Wide Web. It is sometimes credited with being the application that made the web available to the general public. Features that contributed to its popularity included ease of installation, reliability and a user-friendly interface. Mosaic was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. It was released in 1993.


Techopedia Explains Mosaic

Mosaic was introduced as a freeware application and was used as a client for former protocols like File Transfer Protocol (FTP), Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) and Gopher. In 1994, development was handed over to another corporation, Spyglass, which subsequently certified it to many other IT companies. Dozens of Mosaic versions were available; some were free while others were not. In January 1997, the software was officially discontinued, although it is still available for download on the NCSA website.

Mosaic popularized bookmarks, file history features and the capacity to access and share sound clips and video files. One of Mosaic’s missions was to assist in scientific research and to make this information available to the general public.

Mosaic was the first multimedia browser based on Unix to access the web, images, sounds and videos through a graphical user interface (GUI). Mosaic contributed to the internet’s commercial use.

Many of the browsers in use today, such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, have incorporated many of the graphical features and interactive characteristics of the Mosaic graphical browser.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.