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Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer have been competing against one another for quite some time now. But is the browser you’re using really that good? We all appreciate a fast computer and fast internet, but a bad internet browser can prevent you from enjoying either of those things.
Computer magazine company PCWorld.com recently compared the world’s three top browsers to determine which one comes out on top in terms of performance, security, and ease of use. Here are the results of that study:
Performance and internet browsing speed
Nobody likes to wait more than half a second for a webpage to load. If you want to use your internet connection to its full potential, then you better choose a browser that can keep up. Google Chrome is frequently referred to as the world’s fastest browser. But did it live up to that title in the PC World challenge?
Yes, Chrome was faster than both Firefox and Internet Explorer. However, Internet Explorer 9 wasn’t as slow as some people might think. While Chrome was assigned a score of 5825 on the WebVizBench HTML5 benchmark test, IE 9 clocks in at 5642, with Firefox at 5600. In other words, there isn’t a whole lot of difference between browser speeds, but if you want to squeeze every last millisecond out of your internet connection, then Google Chrome is your best bet.
Ease of use
While performance was an objective category, usability is always more subjective. It’s easy to say that usability comes down to personal preference, but each browser does have some unique traits that make it easier to use than others.
For example, Firefox makes it easy to switch between Google and Bing as your default search engines, but how many people actually need to do that on a regular basis? Meanwhile, Chrome has no title bar and is considered to be more minimalistic than the other two popular browsers. And IE 9’s main advantage is that provides very unobtrusive notifications.
When Firefox first came out, it was so popular because it used ‘tabs’ to separate browsing windows. Today, every major internet browser uses tabs, and most users would feel lost without them. Put simply, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Firefox all steal ideas from one another and integrate them into their own software. And that makes the usability experience between all three browsers just about equal.
Security and privacy features
Today, PC security and privacy has never been more important. As regular readers of our blog know, we cover a new virus or data leak on a near-weekly basis. Hackers are becoming better at invading corporate data networks. Sometimes, your computer is targeted at random. In other cases, hackers will specifically target your computer in an effort to gain access to your bank accounts, financial information, passwords, and other sensitive data.
While an internet browser won’t make you immune to these threats, it will increase your level of protection. Since most viruses are spread over the internet, your internet browser tends to be the first line of defense between you and a hacker. So how did the ‘Big 3’ internet browsers compare?
Internet Explorer 9 fared well on this test because it is very flexible with its privacy settings. It allows users to control every aspect of their browser’s privacy. From the cookies that are allowed to the downloads that go through, IE 9 offers very powerful privacy filters and deep levels of security personalization.
Firefox, on the other hand, gives users the ability to easily block malicious websites, like phishing sites that are trying to trick you into entering personal information. Firefox users can also enable ‘Do Not Track’, which blocks third-party cookies, although Internet Explorer 9 also has this feature.
Finally, Chrome is a very secure browser because it has something called ‘sandboxing’. Sandboxing allows users to open a browsing window that will not be able to affect the actions of any other part of your computer. It’s effectively trapped in a ‘sandbox’. To make this feature even more powerful, Chrome will automatically enable sandboxing if a website suddenly opens a pop-up window on your computer.
In this category, PC World chose Google Chrome as the winner. However, it was heavily reserved about Chrome’s data sharing and tie-ins with other Google services. Chrome constantly sends user data to and from Google’s servers, and it doesn’t take much internet browsing for Google to learn everything about you. If that kind of spying makes you uncomfortable, then Firefox and Internet Explorer also offer decent levels of computer security and protection.
PC World Winner: Chrome
Real winner? You
PC World only chose Google Chrome because it narrowly edged out Firefox and Internet Explorer. However, each category was fairly equal for the big three browsers, and ultimately, the decision of which internet browser to use comes down to personal preferences. Because in terms of security, speed, and usability, all three of these browsers are virtually identical.