The World Wide Web officially turned 30 years old on March 12, 2019. As one of the roughly 3 billion users accessing over 1.5 billion web sites, I am thrilled to be able to use a simple, free web browser to access these sites. But I often wonder if I am using the best web browser.
The right web browser can make a huge difference to you and your team members’ everyday Internet experience. Yes, I’m telling you that after 30 years there are plenty of web browsers out there that offer features that just might make your web surfing experience even better. Faster performance, better security, fewer ads, less tracking, or more predictive searches are all things to consider when deciding what web browser is the best default browser for your firm. If you think it’s time to do some “window” shopping and “browse” what’s out there, I’ve put together some information on some popular web browsers, and some you may not be familiar with.
Chrome is considered one of the industry standards for web browsers. Its pros include it being very efficient, incredibly stable, brilliantly presented and cutting edge. Many consider it just about the nicest browser there is to use. In fact, many of Chrome’s competitors (Including MS-Edge) are switching the underlying technology to Chromium, the very technology that Google uses in Chrome.
However, Chrome isn’t without its downsides. It’s one of the heaviest browsers in terms of resource use, so it’s not brilliant on machines with limited RAM, and its performance doesn’t quite match up to others as far as benchmarking is concerned. And, with Google’s tentacles running through it, you may be uncomfortable with how your browsing data is used. Do a search for a product in Chrome, and you can be sure an advertisement for that product pops up on the next news site you go to.
Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer
Microsoft moved to have Edge become its default browsing experience for Windows 10. It is super quick and is integrated with many of Microsoft’s core products, which may be a pro or a con. Edge represents the more user-friendly end of Microsoft’s offering while Internet Explorer scales a little better for enterprise.
The down side of both of these products can pretty much be wrapped up in one word: Microsoft. If you are a lemming going along with whatever Microsoft recommends, then these are the products for you. Much like Google Chrome, you probably either love one of these or hate them.
Firefox has been around for a long time and has gone through many iterations. It recently received its biggest update in 13 years. It is as fast as Chrome, is very light on system resources, and is very privacy minded. Mozilla is a non-profit organization, meaning it doesn’t really have the motivation to sell your data like some other developers do.
I have experienced times when Firefox doesn’t support extension designed for Chrome, and had to switch to get my job done. But if you haven’t tried Firefox for a while, you might want to give it another chance.
Like the World Wide Web, the number of web browsers seems to be limitless. Again, depending on your needs, you may be interested in these even lesser-known browsers:
Opera – This is a good choice if you are stuck in an area with limited bandwidth or you are using your phone as an internet access point. It’s “Opera Turbo” feature compresses your web traffic, routing it through Opera’s servers, which reduces the amount of data transferred to your device. It also has a battery-saving mode which is great for laptops.
Vivaldi – If you like to customize things, Vivaldi may be for you. The whole style and structure of its interface can be modified. It’s also built on Chromium, so Chrome extensions will work.
Tor Browser – This may be the most secure browsing experience around. Your traffic is routed through random noes the world over, making it very hard to track. If you are one that would consider visiting the dark web, then the Tor Browser is what you want.
Brave – This one I just found, and so far love it! It looks and feels just like Chrome, but without any ads. In fact, it blocks trackers and ads, will upgrade a web page to a secure site if available (https), and even lets you know how much time you have saved by not having those ads load into every site you visit. I’ve got this on both my computer and mobile device and so far, am very happy with it.
These are only a handful of browsers that are on the market. You may find another that fits your firm’s needs even better (If I didn’t mention your favorite, sorry!). One of the best things about web browsers is that you can have more than one on your device. If you are perfectly happy with your browser, then, by all means, continue using it. But if any of the alternatives pique your curiosity, you can add one to your system and use it for an hour, a day, or a week, knowing all the time you can simply switch back to old faithful.
Senior Technical Solutions, Training, and Product Manager
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128