What is the single most important piece of software on your computer?
What application do you “live in”? What connects you to your clients? What software helps you maintain your revenue stream?
No, it’s not Minesweeper.
The correct answer is: Your Web Browser. The web browser has become the single most important piece of software on your hard drive.
Windows users could argue their anti-virus software is more important, but that is not their fault. I mean, who can blame them?
Your web browser instantly connects you to the world. Whether it is communication, sales or research, it all happens for you via your Web Browser. We do a lot in our browser, and every day we do more and more. This is because more and more services are becoming available on the web. From email to word processing, services we once used software for are now just web sites. So deciding which browser to use is very important.
And the best part is, they are free. And most are not big installs. How many times have you paid over $400 for email or word processing software? How often do those programs have costly updates? And they run so slooooooooooow.
For the most part, browsers are small programs. They are not resource intensive, so they do not slow your computer down. However, some browsers run better than others.
So, let’s cover what is out there. I will be referring to the latest release on all these. if you have not updated your browser ( or OS) shame on you!
And I am going to start with the worst, first.
Internet Explorer by Microsoft
If you run a Windows PC, you have this browser installed as part of the OS. Every copy of Windows ships with Internet Explorer. Given this type of distribution, there is good reason that it was king of the browser hill for years. It's how Windows users got on the web. And Microsoft made it so much a part of the OS, it was difficult for most users to know there were alternatives out there.
If there is one glaring reason that Internet Explorer is not the browser to use, it is security. But not using it, you are not using the browser that the bad guys target. Because of the distribution, Internet Explorer has become so popular that the bad guys exploit it daily.
This is further complicated by the way Microsoft fixes issues. Microsoft releases fixes on a schedule. Normally bad guys don’t respect that schedule. And what ends up happening is your browser lets malware and other exploits into your computer, your entire computer slows down, and you hate technology. This is not supposed to be the way it happens. For this reason alone, I cannot recommend Internet Explorer to anyone. And believe me, there are plenty of other reasons.
Firefox by Mozilla
A couple of years ago, Firefox was my go to browser. I loved it. I could not think of ever browsing the web without it. It was the fastest, most secure, and most customizable browser available. And for the most part, it still is. It isn't the fastest browser anymore, but as far as customizing your browsing experience and workflow, nothing can come close to Firefox.
The problems started with Firefox 4, in which Mozilla sorta re-built the browser from the ground up. And did so in a year, and then went with a rapid release program. Every time they had an update, there was a new version. This has lead to some instability and a decrease in some of the browser’s performance.
The thing I will always love about Firefox is the community and variety of add-ons and plugins available for the browser. There is very little that Firefox cannot do without the right set of add-ons. From developer tools to search engine improvements, with Firefox and the right add ons, you may never need another program.
I still like Firefox, but over the past couple years, it’s speed has really affected the way I do things. It's still a great browser.
Safari by Apple
Unless you use a Macbook, iPhone, or iPad, you likely have never heard of Safari. And that is a shame, because it is a decent browser. It is Apple’s web browser, which means it’s on their devices by default ( see Internet Explorer). However, it should be noted that Apple does not integrate the browser into the OS like Microsoft has done with IE. This makes it more stable and reliant. And if you live in the Apple Ecosystem ( you work from a Mac, iPhone and iPad), Safari is automatically syncing your data via iCloud. So you can access your bookmarks from any device as well as any webpage you were browsing. Start reading an article on your iPhone, then finish on your Macbook or iPad.
And Safari is one of, if not the most secure web browser. That, to some people is a major upside. But that upside it s direct effect of it’s downside.
The downside to Safari is it’s global exposure. Not as many people have adopted it. Sure, a good number of people have iPhones around the world, but a mobile site is different than a desktop site, and not as many people have Macbooks. So, in many respects, Safari is the forgotten b*astard child of web development. There are more than a few websites that simply don’t play well with Safari. Not to mention the forever feud between Apple and Adobe. Adobe makes Flash, which is a MAJOR component of many websites today.
Chrome by Google
For my money, there is no better browser than Chrome. And since it’s free, I can spend that amount all day!
Why is it the best? Chrome is fast. Very fast. Web Pages load in a flash. So does Flash! Videos play with no stuttering. There is a minimalist quality to it that puts your web content in the forefront. There is no clutter from extra toolbars or options. You can search directly from the address bar ( something Chrome invented, but has been adopted by other browser versions now).
Chrome is better at respecting and protecting your privacy. The Chrome Pop Up blocker is second to none.
And it is stable. You will find it hard to remember the last time it froze up or crashed on you.
Essentially this is a browser that enhances and improves every aspect of your web experience. And it goes with you. No more having to backup your bookmarks, or the name of the plug ins you use. Once you log into Chrome with your gmail account, that information is immediately tied to your account for life.
Chrome is also powerful enough to be it’s own OS. In fact, it is one. Google markets a version that is known as Chrome OS, and it is is just a web browser.
You cannot lose with Chrome. It is my choice for the best browser available and I recommend that you download it immediately after reading this.
Business takes place on the web. The world now runs from the internet. Is it time you started to get serious about running your business from the web? From our online order entry to cloud storage, accessing your data in the quickest and most stable method should be your top priority, which makes your choice of web browser all the more important.
So what are you using? I would love to hear. And if you want more information about moving more of your business to the web, I would be glad to help out.