Browser Differences to Consider

Internet Explorer vs. Google Chrome

Although for quite some time Internet Explorer has been the industry standard as far as browsers go, there are some new ones at the forefront, and while some of them can be a great alternative, you should be aware of certain differences and limitations, because the browser "wars" have officially begun.

In Internet Explorer, the individual web pages are hosted in single process, which is efficient to some degree, but is also highly prone to failure. The worst part of that being that one crashed tab can take your entire browser application down, and you will likely receive some version of the message that "Internet Explorer has experienced an unexpected problem and has closed." After I had my fair share of these messages, I loaded Google Chrome, which eliminates this issue by isolating each tab within its own application process. This means that when one site takes a nosedive, it won't take down your entire browser, and your other tabbed processes should keep running just fine.

Chrome offers an Incognito mode allowing you to browse in private and even open sites and download files without affecting your history. Chrome also offers an "anywhere" drag and drop, which lets you drag text or links from anywhere on the web and drop them neatly into your search bar. Version 8 of IE also has a private browsing mode, and its InPrivate mode can prevent your computer from picking up temporary Internet files, cookies, usernames and passwords.

Both Chrome and IE take up huge amounts of RAM, and if you have an older computer with less than 1-2 GB of RAM, you may have problems using either browser, at least from time to time. Although for the most part I am totally happy with Google Chrome and use it at least 90% of the time, there are certain applications which will not work with Chrome. I'm not sure exactly why, but I am unable to get onto my car insurance site and print documents from Chrome, but can do it easily from IE; by the same token I cannot use many of the features of my Intuit website using Chrome, but can use them in Internet Explorer.

Blackboard, one of the ways online classes are delivered, does not seem to care for Chrome, and does some freaky things when you access it through Chrome such as kicking you off in the middle of a test. I have had to learn that when a site is acting odd or buggy that I can usually switch over to IE and it will be fine. Google Chrome was rated number 2, and IE number 3 in user ratings, so even with their flaws, they are still at the top of the list.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox was rated number one (out of the top ten browsers) by users, largely due to its ease of use and incredible speed. Mozilla offers tabbed browsing, and a huge selection of customization features which enable you to make your browsing experience highly personal. Firefox offers a private browsing mode and higher levels of security as well as over 6,000 add-ons under categories such as blogging, privacy, news, entertainment and tools. Firefox also offers an add-on for voice integration, allowing you to navigate the web through simple voice commands. Most especially for students or those who conduct large amounts of research on the web, Mozilla is a great browser, which is highly organized and offers the most easy-to-use interface.

Other Browsers

Opera 9.6 was the fourth-highest rated browser, and, like Firefox, offers voice commands, and even a feature that lets Opera read web text to you. Next on the list is Safari 4 which was once an Apple-only browser, but is now available for PC's. Safari is non-obtrusive, but less customizable and lacks parental controls, anti-phishing and a smart toolbar. Rounding out the last five of the top ten user-rated browsers are Maxthon, Flock, Avant, DeepNet and PhaseOut. Depending on your specific browser needs, all of these may have something specific you would prefer in a browser, so it is worth checking them out.