Thursday, May 5, 2011

Which is the better browser?

If you are still using Internet Explorer (or Safari for you Mac folks), you really need to give some other browsers a try. The top two (free!) alternatives to Internet Explorer (and Safari) are Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Below are some of the features and benefits I've found with each browser. While I can't say that either Firefox or Chrome are my favourite, I can say that I would take both over Internet Explorer. For a detailed comparison of these and other browsers, read this review.


Both Firefox and Chrome have a very simple, refined look to them. Gone are the multiple menus and most of the peripherals that have begun to clutter up your Internet Explorer windows. Chrome is the simplest looking, even getting rid of the search bar. In Chrome, you can simply type a search query into the address bar. 

Both Firefox and Chrome use Google as a default search engine (no more Bing!). Both browsers utilize a tab system, similar to Internet Explorer. However, the tabs in Firefox and Chrome are located at the top of the window, yet another method of maximizing browsing space. You also have the ability to customize the look by browsing through their respective theme galleries.

Browsing Speeds and Stability

Both Firefox and Chrome have been tested by many Internet review sites for their browsing speeds. In these reviews, both Firefox and Chrome test faster than Internet explorer with Firefox being the fastest. Through my experiences, I would concur with these results. Both are noticeably faster than Internet Explorer, but I can't tell between the two which is fastest.

In terms of their stability, I find that there are occasional malfunctions with Google Chrome. Once in a while pages won't load or I'll need to restart the browser for some reason. For this reason, I'd rank Firefox as the more stable of the two. Very rarely do I need to restart Firefox, and when I do, it restores my pages so that I can carry on from where I left off.


Both Firefox and Chrome have developed mini applications that you can download and add to your browser to customize its use. For instance, I've downloaded an extension for Chrome that checks my Hotmail and Gmail accounts every few minutes and alerts me when I have received an email. Others I have installed are a URL shortener, website translator, Youtube search engine, and a screen capture application. There are hundreds of searchable applications for each browser. You can really utilize these extensions or add-ons to increase the efficiency of your browsing experience. For instance, I have one application that allows me to instantly share or save websites that I view. I can save a site to my Delicious account, add it to a blog, as well as share it on Facebook or Twitter, all with the touch of one button.


Last, but not least, is my favourite feature. Firefox and Chrome have a sync feature which allows you to carry over your bookmarks, browsing history, passwords, preferences and filled forms from computer to computer. This means that no matter which computer you use, whether its at home or work, you won't lose your favourites. Set up one browser the way you like it and sync it with all of your other computers. Chrome's sync is the easiest to set up as it runs through your Google Account (If you don't have one, what are you waiting for?). Firefox's sync takes a few extra steps, but works just as well. This has huge implications for teachers who move between classrooms frequently.

Download Firefox here.
Download Chrome here.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again Andy for great info. I seem to be hooked on Chrome, even if it stalls once in awhile. Definitely better than IE. Like the extensions and bookmarking feature in Chrome. And it's colorful.