By: The Interthugs
Do you know what the internet is? I bet you do–and if you know what the internet is, then you’ve got to know what a browser is. An internet browser lets you access the wonderful world of the internet. If every webpage and website on the internet was a door, a browser is the master key that lets you access everything easily. However, there are many different types of this master key, not just one. Two of the most popular browsers currently being used worldwide are Firefox, created by Mozilla, and Chrome, created by Google. People have preferences of which one they like better; some have quite strong preferences, but others don’t really know what to look for. Today, we’re going to take a close look at Firefox and Chrome, and hopefully you’ll get a sense of which of browser you prefer.
Just as a disclaimer, both browsers have been used and tested by both Interthugs for thorough research.
Let’s start off with Firefox. Mozilla Firefox was released in November 2004. It quickly became popular, and the company soon released updated versions of the browser to fix up any bugs and other glitch-related problems. Now, after 6 years, Mozilla has upgraded their Firefox 1.0 to 3.6, and has already released the beta for 4.0. Through the years, the company has pampered its users with add-ons, features, and customizables galore. There’s no doubt that Firefox is extremely popular now; two years ago, Mozilla set a world record for Most Downloaded Software in 24 Hours with the release of Firefox 3, with a total of 28 million downloads. In October 2010 it was reported that 44% of all internet users have made Firefox their default browser, which certainly isn’t a surprise, given all the features Firefox has.
Although there aren’t that many features unique only to Firefox, it’s still a solid browser with the familiar menu and location bar at the top. Like most other browsers these days, Firefox has the tabs feature, which allows for the convenient opening of multiple pages in one window. Easy to use, Firefox is also capable of utilizing add-ons, once you’ve got the hang of all the basic stuff. A feature that many people seem to like about Firefox is that it will save any pages you had open if the browser experiences a crash, and it will restart your new session with your previous tabs. Another thing that is unique to Firefox is the fact that they have ‘Themes’ and ‘Personas’. Themes change the appearance and, for instance, how things are laid out on the menu bar, while Personas simply take the default Firefox layout and place a picture in the menu bar. Also, Firefox comes with a “safe mode,” which disables add-ons, makes saved bookmarks unavailable, and sets user preferences to default. This comes in handy when you want to browse the net without potential risk from any add-ons installed, or if you want to trouble-shoot problems with a blank version of Firefox.
Google Chrome, on the other hand, was released much later. The first stable release of the browser was in December 2008. Although it was released later, Google has been updating Chrome more often than Firefox. The current version of Google’s browser is Chrome 7. However, it has been said that Google is planning to release a new stable version of its browser every six weeks. Apparently, Google has so many ideas that they’re pumping out that they just want to keep improving and releasing new versions. So even if Chrome 7 is your browser now, Chrome 8 and 9 are soon to come! On November 11th, the beta of Chrome 8 was released and is now ready to be tested out, and a version of Chrome 9 is also in the making, too. If Google stays true to its promise, then a stable version of Chrome 8 will be released in early December 2010.
The current version of Chrome showcases the browser with a very minimalist look, seeing as there is a very distinct lack of a menu bar. Instead, Chrome is quick to the point, armed with only a forward, back, and refresh button, and a location bar, although there is a tiny wrench-shaped button available to click if you want to access what would have been in the menu bar. However, the location bar has an added bonus of doubling as the search bar, a time-saving innovation. Utilizing the now standard tabs feature, this browser also features a separate memory for each tab, so that if something goes wrong, only that webpage will crash. With Chrome, users are also able to enjoy an “incognito mode” for when they want their browsing to stay private. When browsing “incognito,” pages aren’t saved in your browser or search history, and any other traces of these pages (like cookies) are deleted from your computer after you close the window.
The two browsers are the same in some places and very different in others. For instance, Chrome’s ‘minimalist’ look is fairly the opposite of Firefox, since Chrome’s menu bar is non-existent. Also, each browser has a precaution for problems, though Chrome’s back-up is to a lesser extent and different than Firefox. If something goes wrong, then a Firefox user could use the Safe Mode to help find what the problem is and fix it. Though Chrome doesn’t have anything like that, each tab is separate from another, something Firefox doesn’t support.
The both of us have used Firefox for a long time and retained an attachment for it. Maybe it’s just human nature, but when we took a look at Chrome, we sort of grimaced. The absence of the menu bar is kind of unsettling in a weird way and the fact that the URL bar is also a Google search is convenient yet confusing at the same time. Another thing about Chrome is that it tended to crash while we used it, especially on webpages that had big applications. We had the same page on both Firefox and Chrome, and it crashed on Chrome while it didn’t on Firefox. We are wary of is the fact that Mozilla is releasing Firefox 4 soon – and it’s not far off from Chrome when it comes to appearance.
While our preferences may differ from yours (and our computers may also differ from yours!), our hearts still lie with good old Firefox for all our internet browsing needs. Whichever way you look at it, though, Firefox and Chrome both have their good and bad features, as well as things that make them unique, and things that make them similar. In the end, as long as it gets the job done, it doesn’t matter what browser you use. That’s all for this month, everybody, but thanks for reading! See you in the next issue!