When it comes to choosing between the available web browsers, users often fall back on brand loyalty. Microsoft loyalists rely on Internet Explorer to surf the web, while Apple aficionados don’t stray from Safari. Google’s Chrome, Opera Software’s browser, and Mozilla’s Firefox provide additional options, but all of these choices mean it’s difficult to crown a winner of the browser wars.
The final choice usually comes down to personal preference.
Jim Paulos, Advertising faculty instructor at The Art Institutes International Minnesota, asserts that users choose a browser based on experience — and hesitate to change that relationship unless a new browser can provide its worth.
Paulos, a self-proclaimed “Macintosh nut,” prefers using Safari.
“[But] I would consider using another browser if it had some significant navigational or speed advantages,” he states.
Paulos asserts that the browsers all fulfill the same purpose.
“Most of them are pretty similar; some more reliable than others. Google Chrome is lightning fast and has a built-in Flash player and PDF reader. Some websites only support certain browsers and that's one advantage of Internet Explorer,” he says.
His decision to generally avoid Internet Explorer is based on availability and brand loyalty. While he uses Mozilla Firefox while at work — it’s what’s installed on the school computers — he chooses to steer clear of Internet Explorer for personal reasons.
“I seldom use Internet Explorer, maybe because I think Microsoft tried too hard to force it down our throats and I'm not a PC fan!”
Web browsers, like network television, are dominated by the big three — Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. Like Fox and the CW, Safari and Opera hold a much smaller share of the market.
“Google has muscles, and above all, Google has visibility like no one else,” according to Pingdom’s web tech blog. This has helped Chrome to gain users fast.
“In less than three years, [Chrome] has claimed more than 20% of the global web browser market and is without a doubt one of Google’s biggest success stories so far.”
Pingdom predicts that by June 2012, Chrome will surpass Internet Explorer in numbers of users.
“No other web browser is showing anywhere near this kind of growth rate.”
According to Mark W. Smith of the Detroit Free Press, Chrome is the winner in the browser war.
“Chrome's power is in its simplicity. The browser window itself carries very little weight, with just enough room for the address bar and your tabs.”
Perhaps the best known browser, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer boasts “zippy browsing speeds, minimalist layout, and innovative features,” according to CBS News TechTalk’s Seth Rosenblatt.
These updates “catapult Internet Explorer back into the browser wars,” he asserts.
Like most other browsers, Internet Explorer has embraced a minimalist look that maximizes screen space. And for those who lamented previous versions’ lack of stability, Rosenblatt has good news — even after heavy use, the browser did not crash.
“For Internet Explorer, that is an amazing accomplishment,” he writes.
Like Chrome and Internet Explorer, the most recent version of Firefox keeps in line with the less-is-more trend. PC Magazine’s Michael Muchmore writes that less space is taken up by the browser frame and controls, leaving more space for web pages.
Muchmore adds that Firefox now has better integration with Apple's Mac OS X Lion. And the browser’s start up time has improved.
The browser has one more attribute that sets it apart from its counterparts — one that might appeal to old school browser fans.
“Firefox is one of the last remaining browsers to still use separate address and search boxes, which is good for those who like to keep those two activities separate,” Muchmore states.
Because each browser offers functionality and looks that set it apart from others, it’s difficult to decisively call one “the winner.”
But that hasn’t stopped companies from investing time and development resources into new functionality that gets people buzzing.
“I think companies are trying hard to become the preferred web browser because the web browser has tremendous power to influence our online computing experience. That's why Google, primarily a search engine company, launched Chrome. The browser is the portal to the web and everyone wants to be the gatekeeper,” Paulos concludes.
Written by freelance talent for Ai InSite
Contributing writer for EDMC.