When Netscape and Internet Explorer went head to head in the mid 90s, the browser war was won. Microsoft’s technological prowess was evident and even more evident was the financial muscle it flexedwhenNetscapeaccusedIE of anti-trust laws.
That was then, today the scene is different. While Safari has donned the desktops of all Mac users, the PC users have welcomed Mozilla for its sleek looks and quick browser load times. As Mozilla continued to woo techies with its sleek looks, Internet Explorer was still the leading browser. Perhaps not by choice, this browser came standard with very computer. So if the home user doesn’t know any better and has no preference of browser, then the PC user doesn’t know any better. Internet Explorer (I.E) it is!
Today’s Internet user has a choice of Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Google Chrometonameafew.Let’stakeaquick peek at what makes each of them special -
Internet Explorer - a default browser for most PC users, Internet Explorer v6.0 was a nightmare for all web developers. However, v7.0 through 9.0 have seen more uniformity and industry acceptance. I.E still lags severely in the browser war.
Mozilla Firefox - a pioneer in maximizing the browser real estate, this browser was the first browser to rival I.E for browser speed. Another outstanding feature was a host of open source developers who made thousands of add-ons for everything from Yahoo Mail to personalized skins called ‘Personas.’ Another unique feature of Firefox was its continuous evolution, thereby earning a huge following amongst website developers. Suddenly, the entire development industry was following the new Pied Piper.
Chrome - known for its clean minimalisticlook,ChromehaswontheheartsofallInternetbrowsers.AlthoughIstillfind it anemic by nature, the quick loading Chrome has won nay-sayers at a steady pace making it the #2 browser today. As much as I like Google, I do not want them ruling me attention from dawn to dusk. Just like selective display of information on its search results, soon Chrome will start pushing its ads on my browser too. No thanks.
Safari - Unfortunately, Safari has always been the middle child in the family of browsers. In our office, we have used Safari only to test drive websites to ensure that they were loading properly. Another use we have found Safari for is ‘cache-check’. One thing Safari does well is handle cache. Cache is the browser’s way of temporarily remembering the look of the site and/or the elements of the website. So each time you load a website, it rendersthewebsitecorrectly-butitcomesat a price – slow speed.
There are no right and wrong answers. The web world always has a ‘herd mentality.’ Meaning, we all follow what our buddies do. When the world migrated from Hotmail and Yahoo to Gmail, it was considered cool to be on top of that game.
My advice – download each of the above browsers and check them out for yourselves. And use each browser for a week. At the end of the month, you can pick one. The one you pick will allow you to migrate your bookmarks, your other preferences, etc so you won’t have a separation anxiety. As far as the learning curve goes, you might actually enjoy finding the hidden features.
Worth reading -
- StatCounter: Chrome Grabs 25.7% Of Global Market, Overtaking Firefox
- Five reasons to use Google Chrome (and not IE9 beta)
- Comparison of Internet Browsers