Ten years ago, when the web was new and everything was simpler, the choice of what browsers to use was much easier, with the only choice being whether to get NetScape or Internet Explorer. Now, with the choices so wide, it can often leave a user swamped. There are 5 main competitors to try and assume the place of your main web-browser.
Competitor 1: Google Chrome
When Google released tnhis browser in September 2008, many were intrigued to see what the world’s favourite search engine had to offer. The statistics of speed wowed many, and the simple and unique interface knocked many a pair of socks off. However, being one of the first to download it, I was slightly disappointed by the browser.
One of the main issues for me was the interface. It looked childish and basic and had a “Fisher-Price©” look to it. The browser speeds boasted by Google always seemed to elude me. Maybe my internet connection was slow, but I wasn’t convinced that the speed actually existed. For me, the browser was a bit of a let-down.
However, with further updates the speed has improved. And while they haven’t dealt with the hideous GUI, I could live with it. It runs java and flash smoothly, I have yet to encounter a web page that it struggled to deal with. Overall, the browser seems snappy, and anybody for whom speed is the most important issue deciding on your web browser, this is the one for you.
- Horrible interface
Competitor 2: Safari
For many, Apple is a taboo word. With their pompous attitude and their simple interface, many will be put off by the name. As somebody who uses an iMac as well as a PC, I can tell you that the program works very well on a Mac, the user interface looks right on the operating system, and it overall feels functional and fast.
Unfortunately, that does not carry forward to the PC. The UI feels wrong amid the aero glass, and Apple’s attempts to port the general style of the program has resulted in an eyesore that not even Steve Jobs could love. It runs slower than even Internet Explorer, which has for a long time been the benchmark for slowness, in my opinion.
While the visual effects of the top sites are nice, I feel that this does not allow it to be forgiven for all the other poor features.
- Has some nice features
- Horrible interface
Competitor 3: Opera
The underdog of the browsers, anybody who owns a Nintendo DS or Nintendo Wii will know it well, as this is the browser that provides the code for the specific browsers on these two consoles. But using it on your computer is another matter.
Opera is a well written little browser with some really nice features, most notably the inclusion of an email client and the full tab previews at the top. It doesn’t feel to slow, and on the whole, you won’t notice any compatibility issues. The email is the most noticeable timesaver of them all. Having an inbuilt email client is nothing short of genius, and this is the main reason I am including this in the lineup.
However, the email client would not be worth mentioning if it were a review of email clients. Unfortunately, it is severely lacking. With the restrictive lack of certain protocols, it will not be replacing Outlook any time soon.
- Included email client
- Tab Previews
- Hardly speedy
- Email client very limited
Competitor 4: Internet Explorer
For many, this will be the browser they are viewing this page in. It is included in all versions of Windows, though there has been some controversy over that issue, and is the browser used by businesses and schools alike. It is the default browser, and for many it will remain like this, as many will not be bothered to change.
Personally, I cannot stand Internet explorer. It is slow. That is the main thing to be said about it. It is just so slow compared to the other options, and while the new IE8 has aimed to combat this, it hasn’t done enough to make it feel like a browser for the modern age.
While they have added a few good features, most notably the Web Slice feature, it does not sway me to its point of view. As a person who has to live with it on a daily basis, I know first-hand the anger that can be felt when a page loads so slowly that you would have time to personally drive to the location of the server, download the contents to a USB memory stick, drive back and plug it into your computer before your computer had even handled the text. Now I know this hyperbole, but I cannot stress enough the sluggishness of this outdated browser.
- The default
- Supported by all
- Web Slices
Competitor 5: Firefox
Widely acknowledged as the best browser around, Firefox is hard to beat. Whether because of its blazing speed, its wide range of addons or its sheer customizability, when it comes to the world’s favourite browser, Firefox is hard to beat. Rarely do two people’s Firefoxes look the same, because everybody can customise theirs to meet their own requirements, to do whatever they want it to do.
Personally, mine is wearing a theme to make it look like Firefox 4.0, and Ad Block Plus means that I never have to worry about pesky ads clogging up my page. There are addons for everything from weather, to Dilbert, to sports, to fashion. And the speed means that you never have to waste your time waiting for things to load.
If you have read the others, then you know that I reserve the final paragraph for all the negatives of a browser. But I honestly, as a user, have none. Never has it broken, never has it lagged, never has it failed to load a page. There are no flaws.
By now, I have ranted my way through 5 popular browsers. I may have insulted your favourites; I may have confirmed your opinions. Browsers are a matter of taste, but if I had to recommend one, then it would be Firefox. It is lightning fast, and the addons mean that it can be anything you want.