Thousands of users surf the web every day, and most of them use it for browsing. Browsers are the easiest way of finding the information you need, but is the browser you are using the best option? Here you can find a list of the main browsers found today and their characteristics.
W3Schools lists the most popular browsers as follow in terms of market share:
These were the data known as of May 2012, with Google Chrome as the main browser today, and it shows how statistics have changed throughout the years. Although these statistics may not be accurate, they give you an idea of what are the preferred browsers, but here is a more detailed list of the browsers and their characteristics.
For years the most popular browser, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer’s rate of use has increasingly decreased through the years. However, its newest version, Internet Explorer 9, features some interesting things, and make it worthy of consideration again: It is faster, has a cleaner interface, smaller notifications, security is upgraded, and features tab isolation (so that not all your tabs crash when one does), a feature first seen in Google’s Chrome. It also features one box for both addresses and web search, again something Chrome started doing, and a download manager. It supports HTML5, CSS3 and SVG. The downside is that it only works for Windows Vista and Windows 7.
In 2003 Mozilla’s browser, Firefox, started competing with Internet Explorer, becoming more popular than it quickly. A cross-platform browser, it works on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, and it is one of the most standard-compliant browsers. Among its most appealing characteristics are a better rendering of the web pages compared to Internet Explorer, add-ons and extensions to personalize your searches, session restoration, a download manager and pop-up blocking. It also features the all-in-one address and search bar, although it also has a separate search bar that you can personalize to browse in Google, Yahoo, Bing, or even other websites, like dictionaries, Wikipedia, etc. It supports HTML5, CSS3 and it enables developers to create full-screen video content and apps.
Launched by Google in 2008, Chrome was meant to rethink browsing completely. It is the most used browser today, and its popularity continues to grow, as it has lived up to the users’ expectations. Chrome was the first browser to introduce tab isolation and one box for both addresses and searches, and it started as a faster and cleaner browser. Aside from all of this, it also includes some useful features, like a quick calculation system included in the address bar, or drag and drop downloads and searches, as well as developer resources. It also enables multiple profiles in one window, and allows you to access your printer from any enabled web app through Google Cloud Print.
Apple’s Safari was initially developed for Mac OS, but it was later introduced to Windows (XP, Vista or 7). It is the default browser for Mac, but it doesn’t rank very high in number of users. Standards-compliant, browsing with it is fast and secure, and supports HTML5, CSS3 and SVG. An interesting feature of this browser is that it removes advertisements and pop-ups and leaves just the text, to allow you to read any given article without being bothered by these. Like all browsers now, it enables DNS prefetching to allow users to make searches using the address bar.
The least popular of the browsers listed, Opera initially required a user fee, but is now free. It supports all major web standards, including HTML5, CSS3 and SVG, and it works on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux. It is the only computer browser that has a phone version (see a complete review of mobile browsers here), and although it may not offer as many features as other browsers, it has the sleekest interface and is fast, secure and very easy to use.