Oftentimes, I’m asked a seemingly simple question – which is the best web browser in the world? However, this supposedly straightforward enquiry cannot be answered by pointing to a specific browser program.
We need to dig a little deep (actually quite a bit), compare at least the popular web browsers available for different platforms, try to assign numbers to unquantifiable things etc. The question definitely deserves a lengthier reply and on this page we shall be doing just that.
But first, let me take a step back. The question should actually be – Which is the best web browser for my operating system? I’ll tell you about the browsers I have used in the past and the one I employ at the present; I shall also present a brief browser comparison.
By the way, I’ve been on the Internet before the advent of web browsers – we used a lot of FTP those days – then came Lynx (a text web browser) followed by Mosaic… so I’ve been here for a while. But I shall be looking only at the modern browsers in this article.
Except the 3 years I spent on computers running Unix (or Unix based) operating systems, I’ve been a Windows user most of my life (the Commodore 64 days are not in the picture at all); and, hence, I would be only be discussing web browser running on that operating system. From the days of with Netscape and Netscape Gold to the present, I guess I’ve used all popular Windows based web browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, Opera, Chrome and, yes, Safari. And Internet Explorer would definitely be the browser I’ve used more than any other.
After many years of being a loyal user of Internet Explorer, I shifted to Firefox when Google started “endorsing” it via their Google Pack and Adsense program. Mind you, I always had the others installed on my system to check my web sites for cross-browser compatibility.
Firefox is no doubts a great piece of free software and with the add-ons, it’s a killer, especially helpful for web developers. However, somewhere along the line I changed tracks and went back to Internet Explorer. I kept using Firefox because of its add-ons but that was the only reason I used it – most of the browsing was done via Internet Explorer.
So I guess I did regard Internet Explorer as a very friendly program – was it the best for me? Probably! I found it more convenient than the others. As long as I had good anti-virus software running I had no complains on security and privacy issues. One doesn’t think of changes as long as things are working well… right? A lot of people have been critical of the Windows operating system and have cried foul on the number of security holes it has but then it’s still the most popular platform…why? Because it’s user-friendly. And if Mac users want to butt in here (they are welcome), Macintosh systems have too many restrictions both on hardware and software.
Also Internet Explorer hardly ever misbehaved with me. Yes, there were a few occasions when it crashed but never on a regular basis. It worked fine and did its job well.
Yes! Yes! I admit it. I’m in love with Google Chrome. And it wasn’t love at first sight, by the way. I had downloaded and installed Google Chrome (because that’s what I’m supposed to do) and had forgotten about it. It was Matt Cutt’s blog post, as I have written in another article that prompted me to start using Chrome seriously for everyday browsing. It’s now four months and I am more than satisfied. Google Chrome is now the default browser on my systems and has really impressed me with its speed and security.
Not all browsers are born equal (cheesy) – in fact, not every browser version upgrade can be considered better than its predecessor. A good example is Internet Explorer 6 which was a nightmare for web developers! Let me now present a brief browser comparison.
Internet Explorer 7
Starts fast, works well but has too many security issues (now that I compare with Google Chrome). Would probably not have used it if it didn’t come preinstalled (and that’s why I haven’t got around to downloading version 8).
Nice and nicer with add-ons! Starts kind of slow but is fine after that. However, Chrome beats it because of the cleaner interface.
My favourite. Great little browser with really good security. Has crashed only once since install.
Opera and Windows Safari
Reside on my system only for checking web sites for cross-browser compatibility. I had worked very briefly on Opera but never on Safari. The latter has a very “kiddy” interface, if you know what I mean.
So is it Firefox or Internet Explorer, or the new Google Chrome? Of course it’s the last one! The clean, no-nonsense interface is what I dig – no irritating icons and options which one will probably never use. The single field that serves both as the address and the search bar is very convenient. The intuitiveness of the tabs is another feature that stands apart.
Please note: The experiences and preferences described above and my own. You may conform or “agree to disagree”. It’s not my intention to misguide you – so take your pick from the web browsers list and keep the blaming guns pointed at yourself.
The Wayback Machine, a part of the Internet Archive, is a collection of more than 400 billion web captures (as of 2014). The data is collected automatically by crawlers. [more...]