The Game of Browsers has been a never-ending, name-calling, ruthless battle between 4 major browsers and their small derived versions. At the first level, you have the four major pretenders to the throne, mainly Google Chrome, first of its name, Mozilla Firefox, first of its name, Internet Explorer, first of its name and Safari, first of its name as well. Oh.. and there's also Opera around there somewhere.
But how do you select that one browser that will run perfectly on your computer but also have those tweaks to bring you best joy and fast access while running it? This is the million dollar question. We'll take a look at all of them and let you know what the web had to say.
At the break of dawn
Firstly, just a small piece of browser history that will bring you up to date to the browser domination.
The first ever browser was WorldWideWeb in 1990. However, 5 years later, Internet Explorer emerged on the surface from Microsoft's development labs and became a great success, being delivered alongside Windows, starting the Browser War against some of its rivals, Mosaic (on which Internet Explorer was based) and mainly Netscape Navigator.
Internet Explorer took the throne shortly and dominated the browser war, reaching a 95% usage around 2002.
It was an immediate success for Internet Explorer and no threats were showing themselves on the horizon. This was until 2004, when Mozilla Firefox started gaining troops and proving itself to be a worthy opponent. By 2011, Firefox already had taken over 25% of the browser's market.
Then, another opponent started taking big steps towards a coronation. The Safari browser, coming together with Mac OS X should have jumped to immediate market dominance, except it didn't. It was good, and it grew even better every year, but the market was already too far divided for it to be able to conquer all, so Safari planked at around 7%.
The youngest and most restless threat to the Game of Browsers came in late 2008, under the name of Google Chrome. It gained enough market share quite easily and soon became one of the favourites to many people around the web.
The origin of war
Each browser fought to bring new features, escalate the Game of Browsers and win the royal crown.
Many people took sides and soon the Internet was packed with comments and opinions on which would be the best browser. Don't get me wrong, I am not taking any sides here but will provide an overview of what is best in each and every one so that we can avoid certain comments related on how Internet Explorer rulz and I suck.
The topic of the article came from the following forum thread: Which Web Browser Is Best Under Windows 8?.
The discussion went for over 11 pages but I am going to provide just a succinct overview of some of the most comments there.
The user Coke Robot said:
"I used to be a firefox user, as well as a safari user, but IE 9 changed that. Knowing that chrome is from google and google kind of has a record of user privacy concerns, I avoid using it. That, along with poor malware blocking. There is even some studies that back this.[...]Still kept getting malware, and I realized chrome was the default browser. I uninstalled it after cleaning up the STDs and idiot-proofed it. So far, I haven't had a call to service said laptop.
Now, I read the breakdown of IE 10's performance, I have to say, ehh meh. It's third, but not dramatically, just three points behind firefox. I'll sacrifice two-three seconds of load time versus not dealing with STDs all the time.[...]"
First and foremost, I need to have someone explain to me how do you go from Firefox to Internet Explorer just like that? Without a second thought? Won't you miss its countless add-ons? Or the pretty logo? Or the fact that you can turn Firefox into a truly personal browser?
The Internet mainly is divided, as far as browsers are concerned to "People who hate Internet Explorer" and "People who argue about Chrome vs Firefox". How? Simple. Whenever a debate regarding browsers is opened, you will easily spot the "Internet Explorer is c**p" guy and the "Chrome/Firefox is better than Firefox/Chrome" guy.
The latest survey from StatCounter from May 2014, shows that Google Chrome is leading with a majority of 45.60%, second comes Internet Explorer with a percentage of 20.79%, third in is Firefox with 18.74% of usage share and last in is Safari with only 10.01%. The rest is divided among smaller browsers.
The keep the fight going, another study from NetMarketShare says that Internet Explorer is still the leading browser with 58.17%. Who should we believe? Even companies measuring market share don't have their facts straight. To help us out, Ed Bott from ZDNet has published this truly insightful article: Net Market Share vs. StatCounter: Whose online measurements can you trust?.
However, the jokes about Internet Explorer kept on going. And some of them are pretty funny as well. For example, One of the most amazing tools for downloading Firefox.. But the bitterness between users kept on going to creative dimensions.
Max Peck's reply to Coke Robot is short and to the point:
Interesting. I've been running Chrome on all my systems for several years and I haven't had a single malware incursion that I've been able to detect. Maybe it would be a good idea to stay away from porn sites, eh?
Now you are starting to get a small image of what the browser war means.
Remember when at the beginning I said that the Game of Browsers is a name-calling battle? Well, usually it can get worse, but this specific discussion was pretty polite.
As for adult sites, just go to the ones you know are safe-ish… Don't just google "some random adult term" and access whatever you want. That's not safe for the browser nor for you. If in doubt, ask your friends! But don't make a weird moment out of it.
Shane88 brought up an important feature of browsers: "I use firefox because it has an extension that allows you to download and save youtube videos. It creates a download button below the video where you can download videos in varies formats including mp4 1080p hd. Crome used to have this extension but for unknown reasons they pulled the extension which was a shame because I liked using crome. [...]"
Many people choose their browsers according to the extension and add-ons that they bring along. Even though some of the extensions can be bad for the browser and slow it down, most of them are highly effective and can improve your daily work. For example, my friend wants pony theme for her browser and will only use the browser that gives her that option, whereas my mom wants Zuma like games in her browser. Don't ask me why.
Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome have two of the biggest stores for the add-ons. Some are paid, some are free, but the possibilities are endless with both browsers: unicorn and monkey themes, time managing add ons, games and what else.
As a small example, I have installed AdBlockPlus on both my Chrome and Firefox from their stores. However, Internet Explorer is not compatible with AdBlockPlus so you have to do a lot of stuff to get it going ad-free. Here's an article we did on this: Set Up your Own AdBlock in Internet Explorer. Ntz ntz ntz!
McDougal came with a great suggestion, which I also go by:
"I use Chrome most of the time, because it's the fastest, and integrates nicely with my email (I can sync bookmarks and settings).
But Firefox and IE10 are also used. In my experience, IE10 has been great in Windows 8. It's the fastest version of IE I've used so far. The only thing I don't like about it is lack of addons and customization.
So again, you see how the most important in this war is people's preferences. This is not a war that can be won through swords, but through great programming, fast response, easy customization and a great store with addons.
So if hypothetically Firefox is the only browser that gives a butterfly effect somehow in its theme and you are a butterfly crazy person, go for it, use Firefox. If Internet Explorer in it's… simplicity is the one you like, OK, I guess. And so on.
As far as Opera is concerned, my politically incorrect guess is that most of the people that use it, use it mainly just to not use Firefox or Chrome.:) Their motto is "One ring to rule them all!", as a reference to Opera's logo.
Near the end, I wanted to be honest with you and tell you my preferences. For personal use, I prefer Chrome due to its easy synchronization on all platforms, provided with the help of my Google account and because of it's speed in rendering websites. For work, I would rather use Firefox, knowing it to be a bit more sturdy and not crash under my demands. As for Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari… why would I use them when the two I mentioned earlier can handle all my needs?
But then again, you will have your own arguments for using a different browser. So let the browser wars begin in the comments below.