Theres never been a greater amount of choice in terms of your windows to the world wide web. With so many browsers to choose from its interesting to ask the question as to what makes someone decide upon one in particular. In most cases the average home user probably doesn’t spend a huge amount of time thinking about it. Most people will simply use the default browser that came preinstalled on their computer anyway. So on a windows platform they’ll simply use IE, on a Mac Safari will suffice and on Linux its most likely Firefox.
Lets be honest about it, whether you choose Chrome, Opera, Safari, IE, Firefox, Lunascape, Avant, Maxthon, Deepnet Explorer or Flock by and large your web surfing experience won’t deviate dramatically. After all, your still using the web for the same purposes, be it research, communication, entertainment, shopping etc. However its the subtle differences between them and the individual feature sets that makes one stand out from the rest. That said, some browsers offer greater support for plugins, improved performance for things like Java and Flash, HTML 5 and many websites work better with certain browsers.
Firefox is a fine all rounder, scoring well in most benchmarks and provides a comprehensive range of features, including Parental Controls, Anti-Virus and Anti-Malware detection, solid Anti-Phishing, Firefox is updated a total of 48 times per day with information about fraudulent web sites. This allows you to stay that little bit safer when buying online. It also has its own private browsing feature. I really like its tabbed interface and its support for third-party add ons.
IE will remain a mainstay for many Windows Users. It probably has the most amount of support, as one would expect given its popularity. Oddly its homogenous exclusivity to Microsoft Windows hasn’t negated its advantage. It seems Redmond are determined to keep it within their own eco system which is a shame, IE 8 has gone a long way to provide users with a stable and easy to use UI with impressive security elements and strong Flash performance. It now includes tab isolation and crash recovery, along with support for HTML 5 and CSS3. It would make a fine edition to my Mac’s arsenal of browsers but sadly we’ll probably never see it set free from the Windows sandbox for other operating systems to play with. IE 9 is currently in Beta, so far reviews seem positive, it seems to finally match the Aero theme look and feel of Windows 7 while allowing you to see more web page. It appears Microsoft have been listening to their users after all.
Chrome is fast becoming the most popular browser, right up there with IE. It was only a matter of time before Google released a browser of their own and given its success its no wonder a spin off OS is in the works. It features dynamic tabs, It’s among the safest to use thanks to its unique security features including auto-updates and Sandboxing, which prevents malicious web sites from installing Malware on your computer. It also has impressive crash control, themed add ons, and a great full screen mode. Whats more google search is built right into the address bar and I personally like the fact that the favicons for your bookmarks are displayed along your menu bar at the top of the page. It gives it a nice custom graphical feel. It’s aforementioned Incognito mode is easy to start and use.
Overall, theres a web browser for every user and every occasion. For some of you who have stuck with one for your entire surfing life so far its worth taking a test drive with something new. With the exception of IE, most browsers we’ve discussed above are available across all OS platforms so visit the developers web site and download one. Their completely free and each one offers unique features, many of which may be suited to your needs. In my view its always worth having more than one or two browsers installed. Occasionally I have issues uploading videos to Youtube in Safari due to some Caching problems, its clearly a maintenance related issue. However when I switch to Firefox or Chrome it starts working again. If for nothing else its worth having a contingency.
Like I said at the beginning of this article, a web browser is your window to the world. Make sure you’ve got the best view.