Many people don’t think about HOW they access the internet. They aren’t aware that they have choices. Learning how to choose a browser is very important and can impact the experience more than you might know.
Useful Background for Choosing a Browser
Many things that we do on our computers involve going on the Internet/Web. Most of these activities are accomplished with the use of a browser. The browser uses your device’s internet connection (wifi, hardwired or cellular data) to access the Internet and display web pages.
Any browser can display any web page. The choice of a browser does not limit which search engine you might use. The browser doesn’t affect where your email is housed or how you access it. You can access all of the Google apps using a browser that is not made by Google.
So what are the criteria that help you to choose a browser? The speed at which web pages are loaded, security and privacy that the browser provides, and the unique features that are provided, are the three areas of difference.
Speed means how quickly a web page displays on your device. Page loading speed depends on many things. An Internet connection and the design of the page can change the display of a page. The browser can also affect the loading speed. Your experience will depend on the pages you are visiting. Here is one of many speed tests on Youtube, and here is a comprehensive article about speed tests.
Security and Privacy:
Browsers vary in the personal information they store and make available to the sites you visit. Here is a good article about some of the more security-conscious browser and here is another from Digital Trends.
Ads, cookies, and tracking are all handled somewhat differently in each browser. Brave pays users who ALLOW ads to be shown. This gives a clear idea of how browsers are monetized.
Chrome does a good job of keeping your information away from 3rd parties but shares your information within Google.
Common features in browsers are things like bookmarks, history, searching, zooming and some accessibility functions. The features that might stand out, are things like a simplified reader view and advanced accessibility functions.
Extensions can add missing features to browsers. Unfortunately, extensions do not always work well together. Some extensions are used to gain access to a user’s data.
Digital Trends has an article with some good explanation of the differences in features between the main browsers.
How to Choose a Browser
There are many browsers to choose from. Many people have multiple browsers on their device and switch back and forth between them. No one is tied to a browser simply because they have used it in the past.
Most web browsers can have functionality added via the use of extensions. Unfortunately, extensions sometimes do not work well together, and have the ability to slow the browser down.
This is a list of some of the common browsers available today, along with some information about why you might choose them, or not.
- Chrome: Slow. Safe from outside, but shares info within Google. Well integrated with Google Apps.
- Firefox: Good personalized security.
- Edge: Built on Chromium. Fast.
- Safari: Apple devices only but very well integrated. Good security.
- Opera: Built on Chromium. Good built-in feature to read page later.
- Brave: Very secure.
Depending on what is most important to you, how to choose a browser may turn out to be easy. One browser may really stand out. Download one that you haven’t tried yet. Use a couple of browsers side by side for a while, and see if you might want to switch. The most important thing is to remember you have a choice. And time changes everything, so revisit the topic from time to time.