- Google Chrome: Google Chrome has been quick to gain popularity since its first release in 2008, and has been known for its fast, reliable performance as well as its minimalist design and support for the latest web technologies. Chrome makes use of the WebKit rendering engine for speedy page loading and is also resistant to hackers and other security exploits making it one of the most secure browsers too. Chrome also makes use of individual processes for each browser tab which makes them independent of each other and a lag or crash in one tab wouldn’t affect the other. In addition to being fast and secure, Google chrome is now more than just browser and can be integrated with other Google services and other devices for seamless interaction and sharing across various hardware platforms too.
- Internet Explorer: One of the oldest known web browsers, first released in 1995 with Windows 95, Internet Explorer (IE) is also the most widely distributed browser in the world mainly due to the fact that it comes bundled with windows – the most widely used operating system. Although it is the most widely distributed it comes second to Google chrome in usage share with an average of 24% and Google chrome having a usage share of 46%. Internet explorer supports most web technology standards and has seen significant improvements in the latest version IE11 when compared with earlier versions (like IE 8) although IE 11 can only be used by windows 7 or 8 users. The problem is there is still a large number of people running windows XP and are limited to IE 8 which is a slow browser that doesn’t support all modern web standards. But IE 11 has a cleaner, simpler design, is faster, more secure, and has useful features like the SmartScreen which warns users of unsafe websites, this puts IE back on the map and gives it a chance for success.
- Mozilla Firefox: Mozilla Firefox is a browser that was released in 2004 and is as popular as IE with market share that is neck and neck. It is considered one of the top 3 browsers in terms of performance, and is owned by a non-profit organization. Mozilla is also completely open source which means it is being developed by a team of volunteers from across the globe. Firefox is known to be a fast browser with good security and a number of useful features, for instance if you’ve accidentally closed a tab Firefox has a feature to re-open it. Firefox also gives you the option to select which search engine to use each time you do a search using the browser search bar, this is pretty useful because you can directly search amazon, twitter, eBay and Wikipedia. This is unlike chrome which is tied to Google search and IE which is tied to Bing search. The browser also has a status bar at the bottom with quick access to downloads, history, bookmarks, and more.
- Safari: Safari is a web browser originally designed for apple mac users although Apple did give it a go with a windows version which it soon abandoned after the emergence of Google Chrome and newer versions of Firefox. The latest version of safari available for download on windows is actually dated back to mid-2012 and this is reflected in its performance. Safari was found to be much slower than its competitors with even internet explorer out performing it. Safari version 5 is pretty much older technology (2012) and was an excellent browser at that time competing with its rivals, but now it is lagging behind. Although safari makes use of old technology it still does have a modern look and feel with less clutter and more space for displaying webpages. One of the useful features available in safari is the Reading List, which allows you to save web pages you don’t have time to read for later viewing. If you are still using safari on your windows PC it’s time to uninstall it straightaway and start using a more recent modern browser like Chrome or Firefox.
- Opera: Opera is almost 20 years old and it is still trying to build a market share and been far behind its competitors. The browser has seen a whole wave of different features and updates through the years, from creating widgets that run on the desktop outside the browser to peer-to peer networking and sharing being built in. But none of these strategies have worked and the Opera browser has been holding only a small percentage of the usage share. However in the latest version of the browser – Opera 18, a lot of unnecessary features have been removed and it now has a cleaner look with a better user interface. The new version has been built on the Chromium open source browser project, the same one that was used as the foundation for Google chrome. So this makes it as reliable as chrome with a different interface and is worth checking out for people who want chromes reliability but don’t want to get a Google account.
The above table gives a summary of which browsers are the most popular as of January 2014. Each web browser has its own pros and cons in terms of speed functionality and overall performance, but when it comes to a quality web browsing experience with a combination of all the important factors, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox triumph. These are the two browsers that we would recommend to internet users.