Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Battle of the Browsers

As internet usage becomes an increasingly integral part of our day to day lives, the enduring quest to improve our online experience forges ahead. Arguably the most pivotal aspect of the user's online experience is the choice of browser. Whether a dedicated IE fan, an Opera aficionado, a Firefox devotee or a Chrome buff, we are without exception beholden to the browser. 
Since the foundations of the inaugural browser were laid in the early 90's, the technology and with it the range of options available have expanded far beyond early expectations. Entitled WorldWideWeb after the Web itself, the ensuing confusion soon led to a re-christening of this forefather of modern browsers and Nexus was born.

Despite the plethora of browsers available to choose from today, Internet Explorer remains the favoured choice for consumers. Notwithstanding, or perhaps because of the numerous, often major changes IE has undergone throughout it's fifteen year reign, it's dominance in the field has thus far proved to be insurmountable by rivals. However, a challenger to the throne in the form of Mozilla Firefox is hot on the heels of IE, as many of it's advantages include; spell checking, tabbed browsing, the download manager and our beloved Adblock, amongst others. Such browsers also include Safari, Chrome, Opera and more.

Chart displaying web browser market share between July 10th 2010 - December 10th 2010:

Source: Stat Owl

Still the question remains, what is it that keeps us loyal to our browser? Familiarity, it seems, does not breed contempt in the world of IT with the majority of us choosing a system we recognise from home, work, tv or personal recommendation. Do we really believe that one browser can provide us with everything we need to optimise our online experience, or are we simply creatures of habit?

Until recently, despite having used a number of different browsers, I had been a dedicated advocate of IE since the purchase of my first PC. I had often eschewed the use of alternative browsers for personal use, until someone pointed out how effortless it was to block needless advertisements within Firefox. As making use of this facility could expedite my online research, I gave it a go. Since then, I have been swapping back and forth between Internet Explorer and Firefox, to best serve my daily requirements.

Whilst Google Chrome is not a favourite of mine, admittedly it too has many advantages. Visually rather lightweight yet colourful, with easy to access bookmarks and 'Most Visited' pages, this relatively new, fast browser is quickly becoming the favourite of many. With the all-new Adblock Plus for Chrome, could we be witnessing the burgeoning of a future contender to IE's crown?

Source: Switched

For now, however, IE and Firefox are the big kids on the block. Friendly giants, with a wealth of available themes and add-ons, without doubt they are the most successful browsers of all, and whilst IE seems to have the upper hand for now, we all love an underdog.

So, how often do you try a different browser? How many of you have a number of browsers installed but only utilise the one? Maybe now is the time to make a fresh start and ditch the old browser, even if just for a day. Explore the full potential of the variety of web browsers that are out there. You never know, you may even discover a new favourite.

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