Monday, November 10, 2008

The War of the Browsers

Since the fall of Netscape, Internet Explorer held 90% market share for years to come. No one, back then, though possible that anyone could pose a threat to IE or Microsoft. With the advent of Firefox in November of 2004, everything changed forever. People started to question the superiority of IE. Moreover Apple made an impressive comeback the last few years, with the use of the BSD kernel and the Vista bad press. So it came as no suprise that when Safari came to Windows, many people tried it (especially Mac users who also use Windows). Opera was always considered a fast and innovative browser, the first to have tabbed browsing, but for some strange reason most users considered it their second choice behind Firefox or IE. Last but not least, is of course Google Chrome. Having the brand name of Google, that most love and the rest love to hate, it is definitely heading for success.

So, what are the pros and cons of each browser?


  • Fast, second only to chrome, but in the next version 3.1, it will be the fastest again.
  • Secure: Issues are patched faster than any other browser, has many security features (also available in opera & safari).
  • Flexible: Firefox's add-ons are simply the best and more numerous than all other browsers combined.
  • Excellent compatibility with almost every single web site.
  • Geatly reduced memory consumption in version 3, which was the biggest problem in past vesrions.
  • Runs natively under Windows, Linux, Mac and BSD.
  • Supported financially by Googled and promoted by Yahoo(in response to Chrome, obviously)
  • Open source.
  • Needs more system resources than webkit based browsers
  • No mobile version yet.

  • Preinstalled in Windows.
  • Version 8 is a big improvement compared to 7 in terms of speed.
  • Thanks to competition, it is finally becoming a decent broswer.
  • Does not run natively under Linux, Mac and BSD.
  • Very slow compared to the others (even 20 times in some javascript tests). Uses a lot of system resources.
  • Bad security record.
  • Proprietary, closed source.
  • Bad publicity for Microsoft last two years, mostly because of Vista.


  • Preinstalled & greatly integrated in Mac & iPhone.
  • Secure.
  • Fast: Webkit(on which it is based) is fast and does not use many resources.
  • Excellent compatibility with almost every single web site.
  • Does not run natively under Linux and BSD.
  • Proprietary, closed source.

  • Multi-threading technology keeps chrome alive, even if one tab crashes.
  • The fastest browser this moment (until Firefox 3.1 comes out)
  • Based on Webkit, like Safari, which means excellent compatibility with almost every single web site.
  • Open Source. (under the name Chromium)
  • Will run natively on all platforms after some time.
  • Even better address bar than Firefox (gives the first Googled result, as an option, while you type)

  • No add-ons yet, though this will definitely change in the future, since it is open source.
  • Many users don't trust Google in terms of privacy.*
  • Excellent compatibility has not been achieved yet.
  • Google has showed in the past that it can have a beta for years (cough..Gmail,cough..Why still beta??It rocks!)

  • fast: Until Firefox 3 and Chrome, it was the fastest brower. It is still close on terms of speed.
  • Had great features like tabbed browsing, before any other broswer.
  • Secure.
  • Runs natively under Windows, Linux, Mac and BSD.
  • Does not use many resources.
  • Best option for mobile phones.
  • Inexplicable low market share...(1%)
  • Proprietary, closed source.

Internet Explorer will keep losing market share, unless IE 8 surpasses all expectations and becomes as good as the rest.
Firefox may lose some share to Chrome (although the Yahoo promotion will likely offshet it in the expense of IE), or may be aquired by Google in the future. After all, most of Mozilla Foundation's funding comes from Google.
Safari will keep gaining market share, as long as Mac sales are rising.
Chrome will become a top player shortly, when the initial bugs are squashed and add-ons are made available.
Grim days seem to come for Opera. Although in technology terms it is great, users just don't use it... It should become open source as soon as possible.

Maybe a merge of Firefox, Chrome & Opera will give THE ULTIMATE BROWSER in the future and take web to the next level (whatever that may be...!!). But i guess this is just me daydreaming...

*If you think you have any privacy at all, whatever browser you may be using, click the w3counter widget on the top right of the blog. You will see evrything about who visited the blog:IP,country,OS,browser! Need more??


TaZMAn said...

You might want to add one more Con to Chrome.

That being your privacy or lack of.
Google does not have a good track record in regards to user privacy.
Many European countries have expressed their concerns and have forced Google to make some changes.

Even when using any of the other listed browsers, you are displaying plenty of info about your system and location.

Now take that info and put it into Google's massive database, stir it up for a period of time and they will have a pretty accurate profile about you.

I had read an article last year from a computer analyst and he said in the article that wihin a few years they will be able to identify you by name and address from the massive data they are collecting on you.

Chrome will be as un-secure as IE just that users won't know it.


L4Linux said...

If you think you have any privacy at all, whatever browser you may use, think again!! Just click the w3counter widget on top right of the blog and you will say evrything about who visited the blog:IP,country,OS,browser! Need more??
The only solution may be the Tor (The Onion Router) project.