Best Web Browser?
I have friends who have stopped using Internet Explorer and they're always telling me that Firefox or some other browser is better. What are my choices, and which one is best for the average internet user?
Which Web Browser is Best?
There are millions of pages of information and entertainment available online. In order to maximize your Internet experience, you need to have a web browser that has the features and technologies that are appropriate for your operating system and your preferences. Below is information on TEN of the most popular browsers available, along with a summary of features to help you decide which is best for you.
Internet ExplorerInternet Explorer is the dominant player in the browser field with about 65% market share. A product of Microsoft, it offers a user interface that is similar to that offered by Windows Explorer. This internet browser has been designed for accessing a wide variety of web sites and content. Internet Explorer allows third parties to incorporate Browser Helper Objects and rich content into the design of their websites. Other valuable features offered by Internet Explorer include pop-up blockers and tabbed browsing capabilities. The main criticisms of this internet browser have focused on Internet Explorer's security problems. Microsoft is working hard to fix these problems, and they continue to provide security patches to Internet Explorer users.
Mozilla FirefoxFirefox is an internet browser that works with just about any operating platform including: Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows. This graphic browser offers a great selection of features. Firefox was one of the first to have tabbed browsing, which has now been picked up by Internet Explorer. This browser also offers integrated download management, live bookmarking, incremental find using the Firefox toolbar, anti-phishing protection, and a dynamic search system. Because it's open source software, there is a vibrant community of developers actively improving the base software, and creating Firefox extensions to add new features to the browser. Firefox is rapidly gaining market share, mostly at the expense of Explorer. As of January 2009, Firefox was used by about 21% of all Internet users, an figure which is increasing yearly.
SafariSafari is a browser found on Apple Macintosh systems, but has recently been released for Windows too. It is a great browser that has been integrated into the Mac OS X operating platform. It has many of the same features as Internet Explorer and Firefox, including: QuickTime multimedia technology, a tabbed-browsing interface system, and internet searching tools. Safari uses Google as its main search engine, and it also offers users tools that automatically fill out web-based forms, manage passwords, check spelling, and block pop-ups. Safari is by far the most popular browser for Mac OS X systems, but people who use both Windows and Mac systems now have a choice between Safari and Firefox, since both offer a common interface and can share bookmarks. Safari is used by about 8% of all users, which tracks pretty closely with the Mac share of the personal computer market.
ChromeChrome is a relative newcomer to the browser arena, released by Google in September of 2008. Google says that Chrome was built from scratch, and is designed to handle the modern web all the cool stuff web users want to do, such as video, online games, and web-based applications. The four basic deign pillars of Chrome are Stability, Speed, Security and Simplicity. It has an Incognito browsing mode which lets you view web pages without saving any trace of your browsing history, cookies, temporary files, etc. Chrome is still in beta, and is available only on Windows platforms for now.
OperaOpera is another cross-platform browser like Firefox. However, this browser is more of an "internet suite" than a simple browser. It provides users with the tools and technology to perform a wide variety of internet related tasks like viewing web pages, searching the Internet, sending and receiving emails, conducting online chats, and even displaying the latest Widgets. Opera was developed with a philosophy of strict adherence to the W3C standards, which specify how the various HTML elements should be rendered on screen. So some pages may not look the same in Opera as they do in Internet Explorer, which is not known for strict adherence. Opera pioneered tabbed browsing, is designed to perform well on small systems and low-end computers, and also has integrated features that make it a great choice for people with visual or mobility impairments. Another great feature of Opera is its mobile version, Opera Mini. This free download allows Opera users to access this internet suite on their mobile devices. Other features offered by Opera include: a download manager, tabbed browsing, notes, and a pop-up blocker. The drawbacks of this particular browser are related to its limited capabilities for add-ons, extensions, and Widgets. Opera has some very vocal fans, but has never garnered more than 1% of the browser market.
I've tried to stick with the browsers that have at least 1% of the market share for the purposes of this article. But there are dozens of other web browsers that you might want to try, if you like to experiment. Here's my list of alternative browsers:
- Flock - a social media browser built on Firefox
- Mozilla Seamonkey - a technology proving ground
- Camino - an alternative Mac-only browser
- Konqueror - an alternative Linux browser
- Maxthon - built on IE platform, with some added features
Selecting an Internet Browser
There are several internet browsers that you can select from including those that were mentioned above. However, while most browsers offer similar features, not all browsers are created equally. The best way to find the browser that will work best for you is to first narrow down the field to include only the browsers that will work with your operating system. Then try out a few of the top browsers from this list to see which one has the features and extensibility that you want and need. If you want to learn more about alternative browsers and their user base statistics, visit the HitsLink MarketShare site.
Got comments about which browser is best? Post your thoughts below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 6 Feb 2009
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Best Web Browser? (Posted: 6 Feb 2009)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved