The New Browserverse…

There’s been a lot of talk going around on browsers of late it would seem, as well as some buzz about new HTML/CSS standards evolving this year. Most shocking discovery yet: 52% of all web browsing is STILL done via IE (lol wut?). Firefox follows at about 30% while Chrome and Safari both sit at under 10% each. Then there’s Opera, and I’m pretty sure I’m one of 10,000 people who actually has it installed.
Anyway, here I’ll cover the major five browsers +1, what I like / dislike about them, and which one would be best for people to use.

I made false promises of testing out Flock (I promise I plan on testing it soon…seriously), a Chrome-source based browser geared towards the obsessive social networker. The idea is to have facebook, twitter, and rss feeds built right into the browser, instead of having to use widgets, apps, and homepages to do it for you. Sounds pretty nightmarish for most average surfers.

But then you have people like me who refresh on their igoogle homepage every 10 minutes…

Firefox 4 is slated to be released later this year and going into beta sometime this summer. So far, FF-4 seems to be geared towards better security and to work better with HTML-5 and CSS-3 (the code languages that make up websites and their design). Developers will have first dibs (I think) on FF-4 and they’re probably overly excited about it.

IE still holds the majority of internet uses through tyranical force!!!

Internet Explorer:
It’s hard to say much about IE other than wanting it off my system as bad as mono. I haven’t used it (willingly, at least) in at least five years and last I checked it still didn’t have tabbed browsing. The reason IE used to get so much hate is because of it’s notoriously bad security loopholes and the fact that it’s semi-legally forced upon everyone who uses Windows. Not fun, but also likely the reason more than half of all users are stuck with it. The below-average internet users have no idea wtf a Browser even is, let alone the fact that s/he can choose something other than IE. Average users could probably care less / are too lazy to change, and the above-average and up crowd probably uses Firefox.
It’s been a while, and I honestly couldn’t tell you what IE looks like or does now.

I switched over to Firefox back in the days of yore for one reason: tabbed browsing. That was ages ago, and at that time something so simple like Tabs was literally mind-blowing. It’s the phoenix res of Netscape (anybody remember those guys? Nobody under the age of 20, probably. Fun Fact: Firefox was originally named Phoenix.). As a browser, Netscape was dying a miserable, slow death as the only option other than IE . FF took up the challenge to fill Netscape’s shoes and has done quite lovely for itself. All the hipster e-nerds jumped at a chance to give IE the finger and use someone else (kinda like the migration from Yahoo! to Google). Not too long after release, Firefox started adding funky plug-ins to do cool things, none of which I’ve ever used but I hear they’re pretty handy.
I eventually installed Firefox for Mac; being a college art student, I loved nothing more than to find excuses to break away from the norm. I did give Camino a test run, too, as it’s built on the same building blocks of other Netscape-inspired browsers but exclusively for Mac. I haven’t used it in a long time since I don’t really use my Mac anymore since graduating. Camino is alright. It’s neither here nor there, IMO: might as well just use FF for Mac.
My biggest beef with FF-PC these days is that it’s slow on boot-up (when it was new, it was scores faster than IE, and probably still is) which is the main reason I switched over to….

Chrome is just another love child of Google, a company that I hate to love. The biggest reason I made the original move to Chrome was the fact that it loaded extremely fast. Then I was hooked with the homepage (where your top visited sites are all listed for you, albeit this can be embarrassing if you let someone use your computer) and the anonymous browsing. The latter was extremely helpful as I ended up kind of e-stalking an ex and I didn’t want his myspace to show up as my top visited site. Go figure.
Other features I love about chrome is that Google is the default everything, and since I’m a slave to everything Google this works nicely for me. I love the themes you can give your browser, and it’s just faster.
Chrome is what I still use today on my PC’s, although I do still have Firefox because there was a lack of support from some sites like Netflix (that has changed dramatically, though, and my Firefox usage has gone down).

Opera is the red-headed stepchild of web-browsers, with just enough users to put it on the charts above all the other, likely hundreds of inde browsers you can find, but just not enough recognition, which is exactly why I have this installed. I use opera on private-mode to go to the sites that I don’t want anybody to know about, and because nobody knows what opera is they kind of ignore the icon.
There’s nothing of particular note with Opera: it’s not a bad browser at all, it’s just not particularly stunning, either. There’s nothing it does (that I know of, anyway) that sets it apart from other browsers. It works fine, loads at average speeds, and the interface is unique and easy.

Well there you have it, folks.

It’s interesting that we live in a world where we have choices like this. Once upon a time it was AOL + IE or bust, now there’s so much to choose from it can be daunting. Sometime in the near future we’re going to have so many niche-specific browsers (Like Flock is to Social Networking!).

“So Izzie,” you ask. “What sort of browser would you want to use?”
Simple, my friend. A meebo-inspired browser that lets you IM from the web via a side-bar.
Or maybe a browser that supports Gaming-Network 2.0: built in steam, realID, and whatever GW comes up with.

  • Richard

    I propose IE rules simply because most users still do not know to install Chrome or Firefox. Now that Chrome is advertising I think we’re going to see these disproportionate usage statistics change gradually.

    • I sure hope so, though tbh I thought that would have happened already. Firefox has been around for years and 30% isn’t shabby but I thought it would be more.

      I imagine it’s going to even out more too, though, as more people realize they have choices.