Monday, March 21, 2011

What Is A Browser?

When you buy a computer it comes with most of the software that you want to use on a day to day basis. Some of the time you may buy the Microsoft Office suite or iLife & iWork to add a bit of the most well needed applications to be fully functional.

The main program that you use daily is pre-installed on the computer. This would be your web browser. With a PC it will have Internet Explorer (IE) and with a Mac it will have Safari. Did you know that these browsers have different functions and that you can actually use these and many other browsers on your computer. You may have only used IE or Safari but other browsers are Firefox, Google Chrome, and Opera. Google has made an excellent video about what a browser is. Even though they are promoting Chrome, I think it gives a great explanation as to what a browser is.

So which one should you choose? From my experience most people are using IE on their PC. IE is only available on a Windows computer. IE just released version 9 (which is only available if you have Windows 7) when most of the computers if have used are still using version 7. You may even be using IE right now and be fine with it. My mother in-law had a problem using it when she tried to access a web site and it would not let her load the site because it said her browser was out of date. It was also giving her other problems as simple as not letting her print. I have also had a few colleges ask me how they can see more of actual screen space when browsing because the IE tabs are taking up all the room. With IE 9 they cleaned it up quite a bit but I have not spent to much time with it.

Safari is made by Apple. It just had an update, and it is available on Mac and PC. That is all.

Firefox is very well known. It is has been on out since 2005. In only a few years it almost reached 50% of the market. At my school Firefox is the only other software that is installed for students to use. This is because the Blackboard system does not work well in IE. Firefox offers many extensions, add-ons, and customizable themes. I used Firefox for quite sometime until it began to act very slow for me.

Opera browser has been out for awhile. I first heard of it when I was searching for a better browser on my Samsung Instinct. I was able to find a version for my phone and it worked great! From using the phone app I was curious about the desktop version. I installed it it found it to be very usable. One of the best features that it has was the ability to sync my bookmarks from the mobile app to the desktop. They are also one of the few browser that is able to work on many devices.

Google Chrome was released in September of 2008. After 2 years it has now more than 20% of the market. I have been using it since the day it came out. It has progressed over time and has been given every feature you would need in a modern browser. It has the ability to add custom themes, extension, and now even apps. In its most recent version it was able to boost its speed far above everyone else.

One of the greatest features of Chrome is the ability to sync all your bookmarks, apps, and browser info. If you are using Chrome you can set this up by going to settings and signing in with your Google account. This allows you to keep all the computers that you use in sync. So say you have Chrome on your computer at work. You create a bookmark and install a extension, then you go home and load up Chrome on your computer and the bookmark and extension you added are automatically sync to the browser where you added them at work. This feature is really great so you don't have to do double the work to keep you favorites in place.

Chrome also updates itself automatically whenever you open it. This is really convenient so you don't have to take time to download and install a new version. I find the extremely helpful to everyone so that the browser receives the greatest and up to date software. All the problems that my mother in law was having with IE was solved by me installing Chrome. In the future if the websites she uses needs a newer browser she will be fine since Chrome will always be up to date.

Chrome is also very simple compared to IE as pictured above. As you see in the picture of Chrome there is only one bar at the top. This is referred to as the Ominbar. You can type in a web address such as or you type in whatever you would like to search for. When you first set up Chrome you can choose the search provider you would like to use.

While much work has gone into to each of these browsers to make them all user friendly, in the end it is up to the user and preference. As you can tell I am a Chrome user. Maybe you are a Firefox fan. I would encourage you to try out another browser and see if it has some useful features. Maybe you will find something you really like, or maybe you will the rest of the browser world is years behind your current set up.

For those of you that would like to see a great break down of different browsers and there market share throughout time go here.


  1. I now know about browsers. This is cool I will forward it to my dad!!

  2. I blogged about browsers yesterday ( - mainly why people should use anything other than IE. I'm thinking that maybe I should have started with "What is a browser" :)