Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Browser Wars - The Rise of Google Chrome

If you're like me, you probably have a lot of useless software installed on your computer. I'm not talking about Microsoft Works (although that is a completely obsolete and useless application), but actually I mean software that you'll never use. The biggest offender in my experience is having multiple internet browsers installed on one computer - I mean - do you ever really use all three of them? Isn't it possible to find out which one is the best, and then dump the others, saving you precious space on your hard disk? Of course it is (yeah right!), so let's look at a few different categories and see who has the crown!

When it comes to speed, there is no piece of software on the planet that can compete with Google's Chrome browser. It's super-fast. It loads in seconds and it can be ready to connect about two seconds after that. Have you ever tried moving tabs around using Internet Explorer? Exactly - it's an absolute torture sessions. Firefox can be very quick, however it has the tendency to become bloated with addons and plugins (see the next category).

At the time of writing, the stable release of Chrome does not support user controlled addons or plugins. This is a gift and a curse. It's a gift because it means it can continue to be a fast loading and fast acting piece of programming, but it's a curse because it means that developers around the world who have made addons for Firefox and Internet Explorer have not yet been able to release their goods on the Google platform. What effect or impact does this have? It means that people are not as keen to leave their 'comfort zone' and use Chrome full time because they've been spoiled by independent devs.

Market share
Right now, Internet Explorer is by far the #1 used browser in the world. Why? Well there are a number of reasons, most due to people continuing to use it with their Windows operating system (which it came pre-installed on), and then never changing because they didn't realise there was anything better. That seems to (slowly) be changing now, so we may see Firefox overtake them in the medium to long term. If Google decides to really promote Chrome, then it too could have a shot at dominating the operating system market.

Overall, it's hard to choose a winner. Firefox's plugins are better (because Google Chrome extensions have yet to be officially released), however when they have competition from the new browser we will see how well it can hold on to its crown. Internet Explorer is still the market leader, and has tried to do a lot to close security holes in its browser and make it faster. It hopes that Windows 7, its new netbook friendly operating system, will bring a whole new generation of users under its umbrella.

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