An estimated 40.9% of all web surfers use Internet Explorer, making it the most used web browser available. While Internet Explorer is certainly a viable option for Internet-surfing, especially with the faster, better IE 9, not all IE users made a conscious choice. Are you using the best browser for your business…or did you simply stick with the familiar? Here are the many browser options available to today’s computer user.
If you buy a computer with a Microsoft Windows operating system, chances are Internet Explorer was pre-loaded. In fact, for many consumers, that big blue “e” on the desktop is all they’ll ever use. While Internet Explorer has improved greatly in recent years, Firefox (below) still passes IE in some speed and performance tests and Safari wins speed tests in initial browser start-up time. In the end, it comes down to personal preference.
If you prefer Internet Explorer, it is important to be sure you have the most up-to-date version of the browser. As reported in AllBusiness.com, all too many users are still on Internet Explorer 6. Using an outdated web browser leaves your browser wide open for malicious attacks. Running Microsoft Updates should automatically give you the latest security patches.
Mozilla Firefox began as an alternative to Internet Explorer, but it is quickly gaining popularity. StatCounter reported 26,8% of users choosing Firefox as a web browser. Until the release of IE 9, there seemed to be good reason. Firefox always surpassed IE in speed tests and had a more convenient interface. Features such as Download Manager, now available in IE 9, and tabs, which only became available with IE 7, were available on Firefox long before IE incorporated them.
IE 9 looks to possibly convert a few Firefox die-hards back to Microsoft’s way of doing things. But those still using Windows XP may need to stick with Firefox, since IE 9 is not supported on XP.
Google seems to be everywhere these days, but don’t mistake Google’s diversification for simplification. Google’s three-year-old web browser, Chrome, is a strong contender in the search engine wars, winning speed tests and usability compliments alongside Firefox and Safari. Chrome is also gaining on Firefox in popularity, with StatCounter reporting 22.14% usage worldwide in 2011.
Apple’s web browser has gained in popularity thanks to the advent of iPads, along with the popularity of iPhones. Safari is pre-installed with all Mac computers, as well as Apple’s other devices, but it is also available for Windows versions XP and greater. Some have reported issues with operating it on the Windows platform, however, so have another browser as a back-up, just in case.
Opera was the original browser of choice for cell phones and still is the only browser available for the Wii and Nintendo gaming consoles. Even though it is the least popular of the five biggest browsers in the States, Opera is the most popular in some smaller countries throughout the world. For portable devices, Opera is the best, but as a desktop browser, most people will likely continue to stick with the tried and true.
You may read all of these descriptions and still decide to stay with the same browser, but at least you will be making an informed decision, in the best interests of your small business.