Google Chrome vs Microsoft Internet Explorer
Google Chrome has dramatically increased its share of the global browser market over the past year, steadily rising from 20 percent to about 35 percent of users. Meanwhile, Microsoft Internet Explorer’s share has steadily dropped, until IE is now in second place by an inch. (Firefox is in third place and its share is shrinking.) Should you consider switching from Internet Explorer to Google Chrome? Here's how they compare...
Chrome Inches into First Place in Browser Wars
According to this chart of browser market share, Google's Chrome browser is the most popular in the world, in use by 34% of all users. In the USA, though, Chrome takes second place with just 23% to IE's 42%. So which browser really is best, and should you switch?
I don’t think the choice matters to the vast majority of Web surfers, except from an ideological standpoint. The latest versions of IE and Chrome are neck-and-neck in performance, ease of use, security and privacy options. If you hate Microsoft, you may choose Chrome. If you’re afraid that Google is taking over the world, Internet Explorer is one way to resist assimilation by the Borg.
That said, let’s look at some of the differences between the two browsers, where differences exist.
Google’s minimalist, no-clutter approach to user interfaces has become standard in all browsers. Chrome’s search and address boxes have been combined into a dual-purpose “omnibox.” Just start typing search terms and Google displays a list of results from which you can choose. You never have to remember or type a URL again. But Internet Explorer 9 does the same thing, using Bing as its default search engine.
Privacy and Security
IE 9 gives users fine control over privacy settings, although most users will find the many options overwhelming. For them, there are general privacy profiles. IE 9 also supports a reputation-based security feature; this checks the name of a file you want to download against a database of reports from global IE users, and gives you idea of whether the file is safe to download.
Chrome’s biggest security feature is a sandbox that isolates each Web page you open so that nothing that comes with it can alter other pages or install malware on your computer. On the other hand, Chrome shares a lot of your browsing data with other Google products, which may be a privacy concern.
The initial reason that many users fled from Internet Explorer to Firefox and Chrome was security. In the early 2000's, there was legitimate concern about the constant stream of vulnerabilities being discovered in Internet Explorer and ActiveX. Because of various Internet Explorer vulnerabilities that have been discovered, researchers, security companies and even governments have issued warnings against using it, along with advice to switch to alternative browsers. And Microsoft has not always responded quickly with fixes and security patches when exploits were found.
But it does appear that in recent versions of Internet Explorer, Microsoft has made big improvements in the security area. The addition of phishing filters, scanning of links and downloads for potential malware, Protected Mode execution, and a focus on quick response have all fortified IE against attacks, and brought it to a point where it's on par with the competition. If you're running Vista or Windows 7, and you prefer Internet Explorer, you should be using IE9. For those sticking with XP, the latest and greatest is IE8. (Windows 8 will ship with IE10, both of which are unknown quantities as of this writing.)
Extensions, Externals and Existentialism
Extensions and add-ons are a big deal with many browser users. Google has the Chrome Web Store and Microsoft has the Internet Explorer Gallery. Explore both stores; each has many thousands of extensions and add-ons. The question is, which has the extensions that you need? If you can't live without Angry Birds on your desktop, Chrome scores a win. If web slices are your thing, IE takes the prize.
Another part of the equation may the web-based tools you use. My experience is that Gmail, for example, runs best in Chrome. I can't say if Gmail was tweaked for optimal performance with Chrome, or vice versa. But I wouldn't be surprised if either company tuned their browser to provide a better experience in Gmail, Google Docs, Hotmail, SkyDrive or Office 365.
The bottom line is that either IE or Chrome will get the job done satisfactorily for most users. You probably won't notice the difference in speed, where it does exist. Both seem to be equally secure, and offer plenty of add-ons. The choice comes down to ideology or personal taste. Both browsers are free. If you have the time to spare, download both and try each for a few days.
What's YOUR favorite browser, and why? Post your comment or question below...
Posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Oct 2012
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Google Chrome vs Microsoft Internet Explorer (Posted: 16 Oct 2012)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved