There are several good browsers to choose from these days, but for me it’s an easy choice – Google’s Chrome. Even if you’re a member of the “I Hate Google” club (and there are a few of you out there), you have to admit that Chrome is by far the best browser available.
The “Default” Browser
Back in the day, we were all pretty much forced into using IE (Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, or Internet Exploder as some people call it). The sad thing is, it’s not that much better today than it was fifteen years ago. Yes, I know, there are some of you throwing tomatoes at me right now, but let’s face it, IE is slow and cumbersome. The old phrase about putting lipstick on a pig comes to mind when it comes to the “upgrades” IE has received the past few years. All you have to do is look at its market share, or the lack thereof, to see that I’m not the only one with this opinion.
According to various sources ( marketshare.histlink.com, Wikipedia), IE held a whopping 95 percent market share in 2002 and 2003. In the past 10 years they have continually dropped. As of the end of 2011, IE held 52 percent of the market. Yes, that’s still a significant number, but it’s nearly half of what it was ten years ago. For the default browser of the world’s most-used operating system, a 52 percent market share is disappointing and shows its true weakness.
And the drop has been accelerating. Look what happened from April 2011 to February 2012:
- Internet Explorer: down 5% (57.8% to 52.8%)
- Firefox: down 1.8% (from 22.7% to 20.9%)
- Chrome: UP 6.4% (from 12.5% to 18.9%)
Those numbers don’t lie. IE is on a collision course with terra firma.
In the mid 1990s, Netscape was the browser of choice, commanding over 90 percent of the market. By the end of 2006, the juggernaut had dropped to less than 1 percent. Wow.
What happened? For starters, Microsoft pulled a fast one on the entire browser market when it incorporated IE into the Windows 95 Operating System (a brilliant move I must admit). That initiated a series of lawsuits, but in the end Microsoft won, and Netscape (and others) lost. Big. Oh, and one more bad thing happened to Netscape – it was acquired by AOL – ’nuff said.
Firefox is a formidable competitor in the browser market. I do admit that I like Firefox, but to me it comes in a distant second. I just can’t get used to the interface. I can’t really put my finger on it, but the word that comes to mind is “clunky.” For example, the re-fresh button (which I use a lot) is teeny and it’s located in a really dumb spot. Most people don’t even know it’s there. The interface is really my only beef with Firefox, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people. Firefox has a huge and very devoted following.
The “Most Disappointing” Award
Then there’s Safari. Wow, what a disappointing offering from the greatest tech company ever. What mind-mushing substance was Apple on when it developed Safari? I love my iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro. I love everything Apple puts out… except Safari. Slow doesn’t even begin to describe it. The only endearing feature Safari has is the cool home page and how it displays the last web pages you’ve visited. I do like that. Let me see… hmmm… that’s the only thing I can think of. Please Apple, get a new Safari development team.
Why I Like Chrome
I started using Chrome right when it came out, which was in late 2008. The first version lacked quite a few important features, and a lot of business applications had not adapted to it, so it was mostly for non-serious browsing. Things have changed. In the past year or so I haven’t found a single web site that didn’t play well with Chrome. The writing is on the wall (or monitor as it were) – Chrome is on the rise.
So why do I like it? Here are a few reasons:
Interface: It’s not even close. Chrome’s interface is awesome. It’s easy on the eye, super easy to navigate, let’s you move things around with ease, and does it all while staying out of your way.
Speed: Again, not even close. Well, Firefox is close….
Bookmarks: I use Bookmarks a lot. I create folders and sub-folders, and sometimes even sub-sub-folders. Chrome handles them with ease. The Bookmark Manager is easy to use, and intuitive.
Toolbar: If I use Bookmarks a lot, I use the Toolbar a thousand times more. Piece of beauty. I like to use icons only, which allows me to fit a lot of icons on the Toolbar, and not take up very much real estate.
Settings: The Chrome settings are easy to get to, and easy to use. There aren’t very many, which you might think is a bad thing, but in reality, who needs a bunch of tabs and hundreds of options like IE has. You never use them, never. Honestly people, if you’ve ever used more than a handful of IE’s settings you are a geek (and I mean that in the nicest way).
Google Apps: Yes, I’m a Gmail, Google calendar, and Google contacts user. I’m not thrilled about Google contacts, but that’s another story. Bottom line, if you use Gmail for email, you should be using Chrome. No doubt about.
Add-Ons: Every browser has add-ons, and most of them are cool. All I can say is the one’s I use with Chrome are sweet.
To all you IE, Firefox, and Safari users: I know many of you will disagree with me, and that’s fine, but sooner or later you’ll want something faster and something easier to use, and you’ll remember reading this article, and you’ll say, “Chrome really is an easy choice.”