Google Chrome vs Microsoft Internet Explorer

Category: Browsers

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.
Chrome Versus Explorer

Performance-wise, all of the major browsers render ordinary Web pages at about the same speeds. Gamers looking forward to HTML5-based online games will be interested to know that Chrome renders HTML5 content faster than IE, according to tests run by PC Magazine using the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark. Chrome scored 5502 on this benchmark, vs. IE’s 4797 using a PC’s standard integrated graphics card. The two browsers’ scores on the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark were too close to matter. If your computer has a lame graphics card, Chrome will speed things up appreciably.

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...

 
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Posted by on 16 Oct 2012


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Most recent comments on "Google Chrome vs Microsoft Internet Explorer"

(See all 44 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Mike Budwey
16 Oct 2012

I've never been as happy with the print preview capability of any alternative browser better than IE. Although not perfect, the ability in IE to print preview "As selected" and adjust the scaling as I like before printing is not possible with the other browsers.


Posted by:

tim
16 Oct 2012

Chromium powered browsers are ALL better, by far, then IE9, in every aspect. For the Facebook social gaming addicts, nothing but Chrome will do. Pages with high graphic content, multiple pages, etc., are best handled by Chrome. Forget Firefox- way too heavy! Of course, with the advent of the HD graphics cores implemented in the latest Ivy Bridge Intel chips, things have changed. If you have an older system, running a P4 CPU, and say Windows XP x86, well then, for sure Chrome or Dragon. No doubt!!!


Posted by:

Peter
16 Oct 2012

I am not a gamer, I like and use SeaMonkey v2.13.1 which has an easy to use e-mail application built in. I also have Firefox, IE, Chrome, and a couple of other browsers just in case, but have yet to use them. SeaMonkey gives me all I want.


Posted by:

Gully Foyle
16 Oct 2012

Rather than your "Chrome shares a lot of your browsing data with other Google products, which may be a privacy concern," I agree with James's comment that Chrome "exists specifically to watch and detail your browser use, for the purpose of leveraging their marketing/advertising advantage." If you like Chrome, consider SRWare's Iron browser (https://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php), built from the Chrome source code but with all the tracking and phone home code removed and revised for improved security far beyond the options in Chrome. Also, Iron works with Chrome extensions.


Posted by:

Gary
16 Oct 2012

Back in the USA I used Google Chrome most of the time. I was using a fast computer with lots of memory. Here in the Philippines it is a different story. I have a small Netbook with only 1 meg of memory. The only browser that works well for me is Opera. I first used Opera many moons ago using the BeOS. It was good then and I still like Opera today.


Posted by:

egon
16 Oct 2012

I usually have at least 3 browsers open. These days it's: Safari, Firefox (or Palemoon) and Chrome. This allows me to have multiple email accounts open at the same time. They also each have advantages and disadvantages. Firefox, in my opinion, is best for managing bookmarks. Chrome is good for quick searches.

When I design a website I test in all browsers that I can. This is much less of an issue than it was in the past, when the various parsing algorithms had wildly differing interpretations of HTML.

I often have so many tabs open at a time that using different browsers helps manage them, as well.


Posted by:

KRS
16 Oct 2012

I default to Firefix, which I've tweaked with add-ons. However, FF chokes on videos embedded in websites. IE plays them with no problem, so I keep it on my taskbar.

Chrome works badly for me, and while I've tried it, I have no need for Opera,


Posted by:

cityboy1961
17 Oct 2012

IE has it problems but so do they all,Been using IE for a long time and i never experience anything that bad but maybe it is just me.


Posted by:

alan
17 Oct 2012

I have just deleted Chrome because it could not read a lot of sites and Java kept on crashing. I have now returned to firefox.


Posted by:

A R Duncan-Jones
17 Oct 2012

Firefox,like Rick with No-script - and with Ghostery, Adblock and Coolpreviews it is safe and effective. IE still creates difficulties on the rare occasions I use it, and Chrome is too unsafe and intrusive, and does not open some things properly.


Posted by:

sb
17 Oct 2012

I made the switch from IE long ago but have switched back for three reasons:
1. I always felt uneasy that Chrome/Google was compiling data on me. Just don't like that.
2. IE improved its speed and security immensley.
3. IE lets the user save all the pages/tabs of a research session to a named folder very quickly. Later, the user can quickly open all the pages/tabs saved in the folder to resume research on the topic. I just can't live without that feature (and though i haven't checked in a while) found that none of the other broswers had this ability at all. Saving "sessions" in other browsers was time consuming and frustrating.


Posted by:

SAMIKKANNU
17 Oct 2012

to me chrome is none the better than ie9


Posted by:

Misterfish
18 Oct 2012

Firefox.
Because Google keep putting good emails into the spam box, so you always have to look at your spam anyway. If Chrome is anything like gmail, no thank you.
If a company as wealthy as MS cannot be arsed to fix all the bugs in their OS's before rushing on to sell you a new version, am I going to use their other products?

Might give Seabird another go on a cloned drive - last time I installed it I lost my hard drive and had to re-install Windows from scratch. Now I have a clone of the OS hard drive on a flash drive, just in case.


Posted by:

PhilBob
18 Oct 2012

Long ago, Firefox became my browser of choice. It is stable, gets the job done reliably, is reasonably secure and offers tons of add-ons for every conceivable purpose. Chrome, too, is a great browser, and does all things well. Guess I have just developed a special fondness for my reliable old Firefox.


Posted by:

Buffet
19 Oct 2012

Google = Spys = not secure. "I don't google nuthin!"


Posted by:

rich
19 Oct 2012

I'm on Firefox 14, stalled till they get the Plain Old Favourites extension working again and the bug out of 15 - or is 16 this week's flavour? I have IE7 on one computer, IE8 on two others, use Firefox by default on all, have tried many others. Won't touch Chrome, Google is too damn nosy. Didn't like Safari or Opera (some while ago). Lunascape has its virtues, as does Blackhawk. I shall watch the evdolution as upgrading Firefox eternally is wearing - it crashes and loses my profile too often.


Posted by:

Bruce
20 Oct 2012

The main problem with Chrome is that one cant immediately send a site page to a friend whereas with Explorer, one just right clicks and then 'send page' -- wy cant Chrome do that? ..... Bruce


Posted by:

Phil Reed
29 Oct 2012

I use all three, Firefox, Chrome & IE. My preference is FF and I use it unless I can't get a document to open up and/or print, which then I have to use and open IE to get to the document.

I'm retired military, so many government sites seem to only really work in IE, much to my displeasure. Not sure why that is, but the military pay sites are the worse in working in other browsers to include Chrome as well as FF.

I like FF for one main reason - the Adblock Plus plugin. I rarely see an advertisement in looking at any Web page, plus no pop-ups to annoy me. And a FaceBook user as well, the ads are no where to be found and I love it. When I tell others of this, they can't believe it. And I just smile and love FF even more.


Posted by:

David
15 Nov 2012

Phil, have you tried the IE tab add-on for FF?


Posted by:

Jim
11 Jan 2013

I have Chrome, Firefox, and IE. I used IE until it began crashing in the midst of downloading webpages. Now I use Chrome with no problems. Speed is not my issue.


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