Back in 2010, the most popular browser was the infamous Internet Explorer. Over 60% of users had Internet Explorer as their primary browser, but today that number is as low as 3-4%, and that includes the predecessor to IE, namely Edge.
You may be stunned at how quickly Microsoft has lost its browser dominance, but this is down to two reasons. The rise of Smartphones and Tablets, and how quickly other browsers, like Firefox and Chrome, have pulled ahead.
Android and Apple devices come with their own stock browsers installed, Chrome for Android and Safari are already on the phone when you buy it, and this gives users no reason to install another browser, and even if they did, they would choose Firefox, Opera or multiple other browsers which are listed above it.
The second reason is how much better other browsers have become since the days of IE’s dominance. Many people may still suffer from the memories of installing a program onto your computer from the internet, and it then bringing with it an internet explorer toolbar, which somehow managed to keep re-installing itself, even after you had uninstalled the program that it came with. This soon got to the level where less tech-savvy users would have half of their browser screen filled with flashing toolbars, which were both useless and distracting.
In 2009, however, Google decided to tell the world that it needn’t be this way, and released the first edition of their new Browser, Chrome. Although it took a while for it to gain popularity, people soon realised that Google’s cleaner, faster and more secure browsing experience was perfect for the less heavy users, and in April 2012, it finally overtook IE in terms of market share, where Google Chrome was now the primary browser for 30% of people, in contrast to IE’s 29%.
Google Chrome now accounts for over 55% of internet users, and Internet Explorer is a tedious, yet distant memory for most people.
There is a third browser, however, which has always held its ground in terms of usability and market share. This Browser is Mozilla Firefox. It was initially released in 2002, which is later than IE and earlier than Chrome. I find its best for 3 major reasons.
FireFox is built on an Open Source code, which basically means developers can create their own versions of Firefox with custom plugins, and they can release third-party themes and applications, a little like chrome plugins but with more freedom.
If you are interested in downloading custom browsers, that is as secure and user-friendly as FireFox, but with cool add-ons and features tailored to the needs of a huge array of users, have a look at this list of custom FireFox projects.
At its essence, Google Chrome is built with Google’s Ad network as a primary focus. It is designed in a way that makes Google able to easily collect data and habits which they can sell to advertisers. When the advertisers then buy these adverts, the browser is specially designed to accommodate these adverts, although these adverts aren’t invasive, it is something to be considered who don’t like their habits being tracked and sold.
Google, Facebook and Apple, along with many other big firms have been shown to put profit before privacy on many occasions, and this really is something that could and should be changed, but it doesn’t seem as if it will be soon. Mozilla is a company against this type of exploitation and want users to be able to browse freely, without advertisers and crawlers being able to see every word they type and website they visit. Their slogan is ‘Built For People, Not For Profit’.
There is a word in the tech world called ‘Bloatware’. If you are the owner of a Samsung Mobile phone, for example, you will be more than aware of this issue. Have you ever noticed that your Samsung mobile has its own set of apps such as a browser Samsung App Store and recently, its Bixby personal assistant, but the users are unlikely to use any of these, as Google’s own version of these apps are already installed on the phone, and to all intents and purposes are much better. These apps are unremovable and serve the purpose of only slowing the phone down and confusing users, and any Android lover will tell you that the best Android is stock Android, but this is a rant for another day. Please see the below graphic.
Anyway, that is a rant for another day, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer are guilty of bolting Bloatware onto their browsers. By design, Google Chrome looks very slick and fast, but if you were to pull up your task manager whilst using it (Ctrl + Alt + Delete -> Task Manager) and look and your RAM and CPU usage, you would see the huge amount of your computer’s resources it is using up.
In the interests of fairness, I decided to conduct my own test. I opened four sites on both browsers at the same time; Facebook.com, Telegraph.co.uk, Coinmarketcap.com and Amazon.co.uk and opened by task browser to assess the CPU and RAM usage from both. These websites, plus those of small businesses, such as someone who does Web Design in Derby, a Corby Food Technologist or a Bedford Toastmaster need a website.
As you can see, with four tabs open, Firefox is running 7 processes and using 891MB of my RAM,
whereas Chrome is running 14 processes, and taking up 1.03GB of my RAM, which shows that for basic browsing, Firefox is less of a tax on my PC. I am lucky in the respect that I have a high spec PC and neither of these is particularly taxing, but if you have a lower end computer, I would advise using Firefox over Chrome.
Click here to Download Firefox, you won’t regret it.