Monday, 27 December 2010

The Browser Wars

Swami Nikhilaananda said:

"The browser is touted to replace the entire desktop. I disagree"

Google's Chrome OS says that we can live in the browser in the future. Since most people spend a lot of time on the internet, Google believes that that is where the future is headed. A browser is no doubt one of the most popular applications run these days - With internet becoming cheaper and more people coming on social networking sites, the browser is the next big thing. So, which browser is the best browser?

A quick chart

Click on the image to enlarge

The chart on the left shows you a quick breakdown of different browsers and its market share. While the number of people polled here is very small, it definitely represents a random population.

The chart also shows the break-up of operating systems. This chart is taken from this blog's visitor statistics.

Which browser do you use?

See results of poll taken at the bottom of this post




Internet Explorer

The browser that most people love to hate, Internet Explorer (IE), many believe, continues to be the most widely used browser in the world. The main reason is that it is the default browser on Windows, the most popular operating system in the world, and the non-geeky people are not aware of other browsers at times. In fact, IE is considered as the de facto browser by some people that their websites insist on using IE, and I won't be able to proceed if I am on Linux (without IE). Some sites are specially designed to suit IE. While older versions were not good at all, the revamped IE 9 is supposed to be near perfect.

Mozilla Firefox

The browser that challenged IE's dominance and dethroned it successfully, Firefox (FF) is the most popular browser. Many people consider IE to be the Firefox downloading tool, and FF is the default browser in Linux as well. Firefox, while considered to be extremely stable and robust, has thousands of extensions being developed - Being an open source browser, FF rarely crashes and is considered to be extremely secure as well. I recommend FF as the best browser out there currently due to all these factors, plus the fact that there are no problems running any site (standards compliant) except those specifically designed for IE.

Opera

Opera, considered to be the most innovative browser, is for some strange reason, not as popular as the rest. In fact, if you look at the track record of Opera, they come up with new features way before rest of them (read IE and FF) and yet, Opera doesn't seem to have as many takers as it deserves. Opera provides a sleek interface with a lot of built-in features, including mail client, IRC client and so on. Of course, one of the main problems that I have seen in Opera is that pages don't seem to get rendered properly in it quite often, which can get annoying. Also, some websites say that they don't recognise the browser properly. All in all, Opera is an amazing browser that you should use to browse if you want to browse through several pages and keep them organised.

Did you know?

Opera allows you to organise tabs within tabs, and you can see mini previews of tabs to see if they are done loading. (Read more features of Opera here)

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is supposed to be the browser of the next generation. Frankly, Chrome is a Frankenstein, that is a mixture of various browsers. Well, so what? Chrome IS the fastest browser out there. With its popular minimalist interface, Chrome has several great features - Primarily speed, and secondly, the blessing of Google - the most innovative company in the world. With the Google Web App Store, Chrome seems to be getting more apps than even the popular Firefox. The web app store is geared towards making of Chrome OS (What's Chrome OS? Read about it here) While all these are advantages, Chrome has several disadvantages as well. Secure transactions, such as those involving credit cards seem to fail quite often, and the browser is known to slow down greatly when the number of tabs that are open increase. It is known to hog resources as well. Nevertheless, Chrome is a good browser.

Safari

Apart from Mac users, I don't know of many other users who use Safari - Safari is a good browser, and I frankly didn't find anything spectacular about it that deserves mention over here. Chrome apparently uses part of code used in Safari, so that would make Safari a proud parent. But that's it. It's a good stable browser and that's where I will stop.

My recommendations

If I were to give you a tip on which browser to use, I would say

  1. Firefox - For being the best browser
  2. Opera - For being the most innovative browser
  3. Chrome - For being the fastest and for having a good app store
  4. IE - For being the most supported browser (by Web-masters)
  5. Safari - Just to keep it in the game (Mac and iPhone/iPod users will use this)

So, which browser do you use?

A poll was taken on this blog for five days. Some readers voted and this is how the split up is. The popularity is as expected.

3 comments:

bhatia said...

Near perfect IE doesn't have a spell checker :P . They don't intend to put it in either in the stable release :D

bhatia said...

Also, its very painful to post on your blog... i know extra precaution and protection...but can't u delete offensive comments later?

Nik said...

@Anand - Some of my other friends told the same thing earlier. But the problem is that, once, some two people posted really offensive things in some really old posts that I was not even monitoring, not was I aware of about some guy. And that guy sent me a mail and threatened legal action in a way... :P Long story, but I think a good post to write. I think I will write it as my next entry