Wednesday, June 22, 2011

5 Way Browser Fight

Which is the best browser? Gone are the days when I could tell you the answer in the next few seconds. The current crop of browsers are all devilishly good. Even the aging IE has been transformed into a younger and lithe version of its former self. Firefox, which was adding on weight and growing old has jumped back transforming itself into a strong competitor. The new kid on the block, well not so new, it has been over 2 years, Chrome has been constantly updated and has increasingly been aimed at taking over your desktop functions. Safari and Opera, both innovative browsers have kept pace and in some cases exceeded their competitors. 

Any one of these browsers can fulfill your browsing needs, but what are the specifics that separate them? let us get familiar with the ups and downs of each browser. 

Google Chrome (Download Here)
I am an avid Chrome user, since the first day of its release I have not really looked back on other browsers. One can only attribute this to the continuous updates and improvements Chrome has churned out through the years. 

It's removal of the conventional toolbar gives a very minimalistic look which has served it well. Each tab is treated separately, tabs can be moved to rearrange or to open a new window. You can also drag and drop images and links into tabs. Chrome has always boasted it is the fastest browser and its browsing speed gives it credence. 

Among the current batch of browsers, I would say the speeds are pretty close so it is not really a clear winner. But the execution of Chrome with its minimal design approach is indeed a big plus point for many users.  

For those looking to try out something new, Chrome is definitely something you should try. 

Firefox  5 (Download Here)
Firefox 4 was the significant update that many were looking for in the Firefox browser. It brought to the table increased performance, streamlined design, as well increased stability and security. 

Firefox 5 was more of an incremental improvement. However, since it maintains and improves upon the version 4, it has only grown into a better browser. The add-ons for Firefox, as well sticky notes feature all add to create a unique experience unlike other browsers. 

Of all the browsers, for me Firefox still has that open source vibe to it. Some users may prefer this feel rather then the clinical feel of some of the other browsers backed by billion dollar companies. Speed of browsing is of no issue, stability and security is also good. 

Overall Firefox 5 has the right  to be equally proud with any browser, it is one of the browsers which consistently bring innovation and new ideas to the market. 

Internet Explorer 9 (Download Here)
One of the problems of being the single most accessible browser in the market is the vulnerability it puts the browser in. There are tons of exploits hackers try to abuse in Internet Explorer, but that is not to say that Internet Explorer is a browser with compromised security. It has more to with the fact that it is still one of the highest used browsers. 

The new Internet Explorer is a tremendous improvement from its previous versions. This has been the case of Microsoft learning from the competition and trying to better them in some ways. This shows in their new browser, and I believe will show in their upcoming Windows 8 as well. 

Internet Explorer 9 may not be the speediest browser, but it does a lot of the things right and is not a choice that you may regret if you stick to using it. 

Opera 11 (Download Here)
Oh Opera, how have you grown. From being a mere curiosity in the beginning to being one of the most creative browser development teams out there. Opera 11 is one of the speediest browsers out there. It is light and quick. 

It lacks many common extensions and for those who look to integrate their social media into their browser, you will need to look elsewhere. One of the recurring weaknesses of Opera is their compatibility. Unlike other browsers, Opera seems to have compatibility issues with plenty of websites. I do not say that other browsers like Chrome and Firefox do not suffer this. But the problem is indeed worse with Opera. 

However it would be a pity to ignore Opera based on that. It is is indeed a very good browser. Try it once and then make up your mind. 

Safari 5 (Download Here)
No more an Apple exclusive, Safari has made its way among PC users for some time now. However Safari seems to be aiming to be something a little different from the other browsers you come across. 

It is not about customizing, but rather it is about being  lightweight and fast. Because of this it lacks any themes or extensions, which means no special extensions for blogging or twitter. However as is the common theme of Apple products, it takes minimalism to the extreme with pixel wide frame with ultra sleek buttons and menus. 

It is indeed a fast browsing experience, but is it the fastest? It does a very good job but its impossible to get a definitive answer. Running simulated experiments does not reflect real world usage. However at the end of the day, speed is not the main reason users stick with a browser.

So there we have it, the top 5 browsers in use today. Is there a final verdict on which is the best? 

For me, it boils down to personal choice, and I choose Chrome. Other browsers are good, some may have certain features that Chrome lacks, or do certain benchmarks better then Chrome. But Chrome does most of what matters to me fast and stable. 

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