Browser Wars: Is Google Chrome the Only Norm?

#positiveengagement

By S1SW(32) Yuen Yik Hin Gareth & S1SW(22) Tao Lon Yin Allen

For the last few years, Google Chrome has dominated the world of browsers, and I believe that most of you are using it right now. According to Statcounter, a good 67.14% of people worldwide use Chrome as their entrance to the internet, and according to Kommando Tech, Google Chrome reached 5 billion downloads in 2019. It seems like the browser has been taken by the wind, but is Google Chrome the best browser with the best features to use? Are there any better alternatives for Chrome?

Chrome: Pros and Cons

So, what makes Chrome popular? There are two key elements that Chrome does well.

First, user- friendliness. When compared with other browsers, Google Chrome has an easy and basic design, which helps the user understand its functions. Also, everything you need for browsing is on a sleek taskbar on top of the screen, so you can easily search for stuff that you need quickly. Furthermore, Google Chrome also has a function where you can select the type of data you are looking for after you have searched it, such as images, videos or news, so it certainly helps matters when it comes to finding the information that you need.

Second, convenience. Chrome’s sleek design allows you to organise and locate stuff pretty quickly. It is equipped with a bookmark bar that helps you to bookmark pages that you use often, so you can easily access it.

Furthermore, there are 150,000 different extensions that you can add on to Chrome, most of which are quite useful and helpful when it comes to essay writing or studying, such as Grammarly and Screen recorder.io.

Although Chrome does have a lot of perks, it still has some large disadvantages that you should definitely consider.

First of all, Chrome uses a lot of resources on your computer. Imagine Chrome is a giant that eats computer resources, and can really eat most of your computer’s RAM (computer memory). To prevent crashing the browser, Chrome splits all of its tabs and extensions into its individual processes, which consumes a large chunk of your computer’s memory. Although Chrome is a fast browser to use when there are a few tabs, if it uses too much memory, the computer will slow down quite a bit.

Also, Chrome contains some privacy problems. When it comes to privacy, you cannot trust Google Chrome, as Google will constantly spy on your activities. When you do a search using Google’s search function, Google will automatically place a cookie that tracks your online activities. Even though you can delete that cookie from your browser, Google will automatically place it over and over again, as long as you keep using Chrome to browse the internet. Also, Google Chrome can still track you everywhere even if you don’t use the search function. If you did not log in to your Google account but still use Google Chrome, Google still knows your exact IP address no matter what and the company can still track you, wherever you are.

Alternate Browsers: Is there another choice?

Of course, there are still many internet browsers out there, waiting for you to try them. Let’s look at a few of them.

Safari

A famous example, Safari is designed by Apple using the iOs code. There are quite a few benefits to it, such as the search speed being exceptionally fast, low RAM usage, and also better privacy handling. The cons, however, still exist, which are the bulky design of the search page and the multiple security flaws in the code. What’s more, it is tailored to run on iOS devices such as Macbook and iPad, so you might want to consider another choice if your device runs on Windows.

Microsoft Edge

Another well-known example is Microsoft's latest browser, Microsoft Edge,  which is also great. According to CodeFuel, Microsoft Edge improved on its predecessor, Internet Explorer, and provides a lightweight design with low memory usage. This shortens the loading time and allows smoother browsing. Although it doesn’t support extensions and plugins like Chrome does, you should try Microsoft Edge, as it’ll improve and smoothen your browsing experience.

Brave

“What on Earth is Brave?” you might ask. Brave is a browser that appeared very recently, but its features are great. First of all, Brave values and protects your privacy, unlike other big browsers like Chrome. According to a review on Android Authority, the browser automatically blocks trackers and makes browsing faster, since all the extra images and javascript for ads are blocked. It blocks data tracking, as well. However, it lacks extensions and a lot of features are still in beta, so it’s still not a perfect browser to use.

Our student’s opinions

We have also conducted a survey about the browsers that our students and teachers use, as well as their thoughts on the browsers they use.

Out of the 17 participants, 12 of them (70.6%) use Chrome, while 4 of them (23.5%) use Safari and the remaining one (5.9%) uses both Safari and Microsoft Edge. They also think that privacy, security and user-friendliness are the most important features of a good browser, while speed is less of a concern and convenience being the least of concerns.

Conclusion

So, what’s the best browser? At the end of the day, there is no definitive answer, as each browser has its own strengths and weaknesses. This is merely a guide to the characteristics of different browsers, and the choice is still yours.