April 13, 2012 Hints and Tips Comments Off
Most people don’t think about Internet browsers very often. They click on the icon for Internet Explorer or Safari and focus more on what page they are visiting than the software around it.
But improvements, upgrades and newcomers to the browsing world give Internet users a smorgasbord of options and features that can improve the way you view the web. Just like going to a favorite restaurant, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with a familiar favorite. But if you’re interested in finding a new favorite, here are a few tips to help you navigate the browser buffet.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or IE is the longtime king of the browsers. About a third of all Internet users use IE, according to Wikimedia. Explorer is known for being the standard software that comes on every Windows machine and is integrated into the operating system of those computers. At one time, Microsoft had a version of IE for Apple computers, but stopped supporting it in 2005.
Its ninth version, IE boasts improved performance with notifications about any add-ons that might slow the machine down. In the newest version, Microsoft designers added several features that used to set Chrome and Firefox apart like a combined search and address bar. But regardless of any new features other browsers may develop, IE has two big advantages that will be hard to overcome. For starters, Microsoft can always make its browser work with Windows in ways no other browser can. Secondly, the fact that it is the most used browser means practically every webpage and web feature on the net is designed with IE users in mind. On the downside, that’s the same reason many malware and virus designers also create their harmful programs for IE, so it’s important to maintain your updates and security software.
Safari is Apple’s version of Internet Explorer: a standard issue browser that comes on all of its computers. And with that comes what you might expect. Safari is integrated with Apple’s operating system, including some advanced navigation features on the trackpad of Apple’s laptops. It also boasts top of the line graphics on the web, robust security features and full-screen browsing. Apple calls Safari “the world’s most innovative web browser.” Despite being the standard for Apple machines, Safari still has a small share of the browser market with only about five or six percent of computer users.
Released in 2004 as an open source software project, Firefox was a game changer for browsers. Early versions introduced users to tabs instead of multiple windows, inline spell checking, a restore feature allowing users to return on startup to the last viewed pages. Almost all of these features have been replicated in Chrome, IE and Safari. New version of Firefox have included new features like grouped tabs and a sync feature that allows people to log in on different computers and access their home machines settings. Mozilla, which casts itself as “Proudly non-profit” as opposed to its corporate competitors, also has introduced a mobile app allowing users to access history and open tabs on their home computer from their phone. It remains to be seen if any of these knew innovations will have the same impact that the original Firefox releases did.
The newest major browser, Google’s Chrome has taken the web world by storm since it was released in 2008. Like Firefox, the free download is available for Apple and Windows and has quickly grown in popularity to outpace Firefox with nearly 30 percent of net users.
What’s lead to Chrome’s quick rise is its quickness. From the launch its gotten rave reviews for its speed both starting up and downloading. Chrome also pioneered several browser function that have been added to the new version of Internet Explorer like the combined search. Chrome allows users to sign in on various computers and bring along their history, bookmarks and other settings from their home computers. Many users also like Chrome’s simple and speedy download management system.
There are several other browser options like Opera and Konqueror out there. These lesser-known browsers also have powerful features and can be customized to a user’s needs. While such browsers make sense for some advanced users in certain situations, most people are better served by one of the big four browsers because of compatibility with other users and troubleshooting.
While that may be the case, most other browsers are free downloads so you’re not out anything if want to swim against the mainstream. Like a buffet, it doesn’t cost anymore to try something else.