Is Chrome the Best Browser?

Category: Browsers

I'm thinking of switching to the Google Chrome browser. I like Firefox, but lately it has been unstable on my computer, and seems to get bogged down. Yesterday I had to shut it down because it was consuming 825MB of memory! My friend says Chrome is the best - what is your opinion?

Should You Switch to Chrome?

Google introduced its Chrome Web browser in December, 2008. As of October, 2011, Chrome was the third most-used Web browser, with a 25 per cent worldwide market share. And according to StatCounter, it's on the verge of taking over the #2 spot from Firefox within weeks. Meanwhile, Internet Explorer's market share has dipped from 50% to 40% in the past years, and some are predicting that Chrome's current growth trajectory will put it in the top spot by the middle of 2012.

Chrome is strikingly different from its two major competitors, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. The latter two browsers have become feature-bloated, according to many users. Chrome has a minimalist feel; it doesn't even support RSS feeds. The emphasis in Chrome is on speed, simplicity, and security. Chrome runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The most recent version can be downloaded here.

Chrome may have had a decisive edge in speed when it first appeared. But that advantage has been narrowed in recent rounds of the browser wars. Different benchmark tests give different rankings, particularly when a test is designed by the developer of one of the browsers being tested. But a wide variety of reviews suggest that Chrome and Firefox are about tied in speed, and that IE is only an insignificant step behind them. See my related article Which Browser is Fastest? for some additional information on browser speed testing.
Chrome Browser Stats

Why is Chrome Growing in Popularity?

Simplicity is definitely Chrome's hallmark. You might think the user interface was designed by Steve Jobs, for all its Zen-like inscrutability. Some users like the sparse UI, noting that it leaves more screen space free for viewing Web content. Chrome strikes a nice balance between customizability and the amorphous chaos that is Firefox. IE, of course, is the least extension-friendly of the three major browsers.

Chrome has not been entirely immune to security issues, but it does get high marks for minimizing vulnerabilities. Its use of sandboxing technology to prevent Web apps from altering the user's hard drive content is excellent. Its anti-phishing warning system has been copied by IE and Firefox. Chrome's Incognito browsing mode disables cookie tracking, history recording, extension support, and other browsing breadcrumbs. You can also delete Flash cookies from inside Chrome to eliminate that nefarious tracking tool.

Other features that are popular in Chrome are customizable themes featuring images from artists around the world, and automated language translations. If the page you are viewing is not in your default language, Chrome will offer to translate it for you. Also, the New Tab page shows thumbnails of your most visited apps and pages, for quick access to the websites you visit often.

Whenever I write about browsers, I get comments. Why didn't address I Safari or Opera? In a nutshell, they are not major players. Although Opera has some enthusiastic fans, it has never broken the 2% mark in popularity. Safari (the default browser on Macs) scores under 6% and doesn't play nice (or at all) on other platforms.

So is Chrome "the best browser"? There really is no absolute answer to that question, because it boils down to preference. It's very much like asking what is the best car, or if Coke is better than Pepsi. There is no "best browser," only one that you prefer over others. That said, Chrome works very well. It's fast, simple, and secure, although not perfect. And within a year, it may end up at the top of the market share charts. Certainly, it's worth a try.

Have you tried Chrome? What's your opinion? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Posted by on 23 Nov 2011


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Most recent comments on "Is Chrome the Best Browser?"

(See all 66 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

John CA
24 Nov 2011

I used to like FF, but it WAS a memory hog big time - 8.01 seems to have fixed that. CHROME is good, but sometimes it doesn't paint a page correctly AND, AND, AND I think it is tracking what I do!?

I don't like how it updates itself w/o my permission.


Posted by:

Keith
24 Nov 2011

I use IRON Browser by SRWare. It's just like Google Chrome with the privacy concerns removed. Google reports alot of things about your browsing for advertisers. Iron removes all those and is blazing fast. They even have a Portable version which I use. Just make a folder, DL it, unzip and make a shortcut to your desktop of the Iron icon and its ready to go.


Posted by:

Keith
24 Nov 2011

Oops, here's the link to Iron.
http://www.srware.net/en/software_srware_iron.php


Posted by:

PeteM
24 Nov 2011

Interesting article Bob. My browser of choice is Firefox which works well on my system running XP and is really quick. I also have Opera which I use occasionally and which now runs really fast since I installed Adblock. Just recently I have installed Comodo Dragon which uses Chromium technology but with all the privacy and security associated with Comodo whose firewall I swear by, and I have to say I'm very impressed. It's as fast as Firefox and doesn't use much in the way of resources. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this last one.


Posted by:

LeeD
25 Nov 2011

You cant beat Firefox for add-ons & extensions. Thats why I use it. I also have Opera which i like because it is fast and stable.


Posted by:

Allyson
26 Nov 2011

Good article. I have used Chrome for a quite a while now. Less annoyances and wasted space! I appreciate being able to use the address bar as a search engine, I use the translate feature, and always use the quick links on the main page. Some sites don't work or work well, on Chrome, so I'll switch over to any of the others when that happens.


Posted by:

GeneKeene
30 Nov 2011

I am the IT director for a small school system. We have found that something in Firefox and Chrome allows students to bypass our Kerio WinRoute firewall/filter. Kerio seems unable to correct this problem. For that reason, we do not allow students or teachers to download/install anything but IE.


Posted by:

Don Shenton
01 Dec 2011

Chrome is the best for me. I do web design so test with a number of browsers, but my main one is Google Chrome. Also, I use the Google Cloud extensively so Chrome is designed for me. Chrome is not without some problems, but is the best for me and I recommend it to all my friends.

Don


Posted by:

Cary
06 Dec 2011

I'm a heavy Google user, so I live in Chrome. I'm also a Linux user, so IE is not a real option in Linux. One of the things I really appreciate about Firefox (in Linux) is that I can use a Citrix client to call back to my work network resources. As far as I know, Chrome doesn't support Citrix clients. In Windows or Linux, Chrome is primary.


Posted by:

Tony
07 Dec 2011

Good article, but I have to say that I am a true fan of Chrome, I have a HP Media Center PC and its about 6 years old, and I'm still hanging on to XP SP3. I have tried all the browsers you mention and I get the best speed from Chrome going thru their server at 8.8.8.8. I have a cable service from my ISP and it really is fast. Thank you Bob and keep the good articles coming


Posted by:

Bill
07 Dec 2011

I tried Chrome earlier this year but got tired of the "Chrome didn't shut down correctly" warning every time I launched it. So I went back to my beloved Firefox.


Posted by:

BlackScorpio
07 Dec 2011

I use FF and I like the fact that FF now syncs all of your favorites, passwords, etc... across multiple computers with the use of a sync key.


Posted by:

Clairvaux
07 Dec 2011

I'm reluctant of even giving a try to Chrome for privacy reasons.

If you think that Microsoft is intruding and invasive, what about a company which has a near-monopoly on search, is inescapable when you use mail or blogs, and has been on the record saying, basically, that privacy was a thing of the past ?

I use very little of Google's services apart from search and blog comments, and I'm already quite annoyed by their seemingly unavoidable nosiness.

Maybe Chrome can protect your privacy against others, but can it protect your privacy against Google ? Any thoughts welcome.


Posted by:

Chris
10 Dec 2011

I started using Chrome back in 2010 (around June). My reason for this was that our help desk software was running sluggish using IE. Using Chrome, the help desk software worked great though didn't display the same as IE, however it was much faster and usable.

As a test, I tried using our healthcare software with Chrome and it did not do so well --- not a surprise due to the custom html and java script the healthcare software is written in.

At home, I used Chrome for many things but when I tried it for my online college classes (Blackboard system), it did not work well at all. Now I use Firefox and have been happy.

There are features in Firefox that I find I am using more as I get used to it (6 months now). Right-clicking on a link and pressing a 't' for a new tab or 'w' for a new window is nice and intuitive --- IE is not. I don't even remember what IE uses for those functions.

However, I am still using version 3 of Firefox as version 4 does not work for my college Blackboard system (I haven't tried version 5 yet).

There are other features or plugins I really like with Firefox, cache (about:cache), history, and others.

I might try Chrome again sometime but I will not use IE except for designing and testing web pages --- of course I still use IE and sometimes Chrome for that also as well as different versions of IE.

The last update to IE 8 on our new Win7 laptop was sluggish and caused some issues with certain web pages --- I was not happy with that at all but it still stays.


Posted by:

Jerry
11 Dec 2011

I have been using Chrome for a couple of years now. I am very happy with the simplicity and all the webb apps. It also syncs bookmarks to other PCs.

note to "Clairvaux", you can pin any search engine you prefer to the bookmark bar.


Posted by:

Frank
12 Dec 2011

I was assigned a computer at my school where I teach. It had Chrome on it along with IE and Firefox. I found when using IE that my Yahoo mail inbox did funny things. I would check an email to delete it and it would delete it and one or two more that I hadn't read yet. I don't know what the bug was, but as soon as I deleted Chrome form my computer the problem went away.


Posted by:

fundutzi
29 Dec 2011

Like sea currents IT change rapidly.

Referring only to Microsoft OS supported browsers here:
At this stage I recommend to clients:
1. Chrome, fast and slick.
2. Firefox, Opensource, still great.
3. Internet Explorer {Must use for some Microsoft applications} Breaks a lot, slow etc.
Opera, Green Browser also great to use, not 100% compatible on sites.

All of the browsers above will crash. All of these bloat at times stealing memory. The frequency of these problems is much less for nr1, and 2. Nr3 Is Bad. The others is not 100% compatible with all sites.


Posted by:

coolsimon
12 Jan 2012

Sometimes Chrome seems faster, then Firefox catches up, it's like an arms race, so may as well stick to Firefox. Firefox still has vast superiority in add ons, though Chrome is improving all thte time, it is still lagging behind. The main reason Firoefox beats Chrome hands down is in the bookmarking. Chrome doesn't let you click bookmarks into alphabetical order at rapid speed. Chromes bookmarketing rips off a lot of Firefoxes ideas, but is on the wrong side of the screen, and takes more clicks, sorry Chrome bookmarkeing is just inferior. So I will stick with Firefox for the medium term future. I too worry about Google have too much info on me, and having a monoply in to many areas, so I will support Firefox for that reason.


Posted by:

Gail Moeller
13 Mar 2012

I really like Chrome, especially for surfing, but some sites don't support it, like my bank.


Posted by:

Subhadeep
17 Jun 2013

I use both Firefox and Chrome. Having an internet connection that gives me 248kbps, speed is what catches my attention.Hence, in that case Chrome gets
my vote.


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