With so many options for Internet browsers available, choosing the best one can be difficult. There’s good old Microsoft Internet Explorer (the good part being questionable), readily available on all Windows computers; there’s Mozilla Firefox, the open-source browser of choice for most of the 21st century; and then there’s Google Chrome, the new kid on the street who’s adamant that things on the Internet browser scene need to change.
And change they have. Mozilla, the largest competitor to Internet Explorer in browser market share, just released a beta version of its new and improved Firefox 4. The new design is faster, for starters, which was one of the main complaints users had about Firefox compared to Chrome and IE, but may not be fast enough yet to compete with Chrome.
For Firefox 4’s aesthetic changes, Mozilla took cues from other browsers like Chrome and Opera and changed the interface to a more minimalist approach, with the tabs located on top of the slender address bar and the File menus becoming a thing of the past. Now a single menu is located in the upper left corner, from which most features of Firefox may be accessed.
Still, especially while the improved Firefox 4 is in beta, if you haven’t tried out Google Chrome yet, you probably should. For anyone with even the smallest hint of geekery, it provides a much more complete, manageable, faster and just all-around better browsing experience.
Chrome’s multi-process design makes it more stable because faulty code or a crashed add-on in one tab won’t cause the whole browser to cease functioning. If you’ve ever lost a whole browser window worth of tabs in Firefox or Internet Explorer because Flash Player crashed in one of those tabs, then you know the value of having each tab run in a separate process.
The other big advantage of Chrome’s multi-process design is that you can actually monitor how much memory each tab is using and manage each one of them using the browser’s built in task manager.
Possibly the greatest feature of Chrome is the ability to sync your bookmarks across computers by signing in to your Google account on any computer that has Google Chrome installed on it. No more importing bookmarks or monitoring them with bookmarking websites.
Many of Chrome’s other innovations, like incognito browsing and the thumbnail-style homepage, weren’t really innovations at all. As it is with many technologies, Google was able to draw from many different sources of inspiration and combine those ideas into one cohesive browser, making a tool that’s superior to its inspirational counterparts by themselves.
In the end, though, don’t let a geek like me boss you around and tell you which browser you should be using. Use whichever one is most comfortable for you, but don’t be afraid to try something new.