All available for free
The name browser sounds relaxed but it has become one of the most important pieces of software on your computer. You use it for shopping, banking, research, communication and entertainment – it’s your window on the web.
Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari or Opera – you’ll likely see one of these names on your desktop, but you probably don’t pay much attention. You should do though – because which one you use can make a big difference to how you use the internet.
They’re all available for free, so let’s take a brief look at the top three most popular.
Microsoft Internet Explorer
The first, used by over 60% of us, is Internet Explorer – the browser developed by Microsoft to be part of the Windows operating system. The latest version certainly surpasses its predecessors with tighter security, privacy and a good interface. It has a smart toolbar which offers searching suggestions based on your browsing history.
We’re up to version eight of Internet Explorer and it now includes extensive parental controls which can be tailored for each member of a family. If you have small children using the internet then is probably the browser for you.
With nearly a quarter of the browser market share comes Mozilla Firefox, which has become the leading alternative to Internet Explorer. Speed is the key feature of this software and it has some very nice features behind it’s clean and easy to use interface. The latest release is even quicker and has more security than previous versions. There is also a wealth of free add-ons available.
This is the first browse to adopt the new HTML 5 audio and video formats – so you can have a much better media experience. You can even drag video and text directly from a webpage to your desktop or into a document. You can leave virtual sticky notes on a page or even operate it through voice commands (given the appropriate hardware). If you’re a student doing research or in business looking for speed and security, then this is the one to go for.
The internet big-boy Google has recently joined the browser war with its offering, Chrome. Being the new contender, it’s got some catching up to do, but it has some first class features and is fast and simple to use.
Chrome, like all browsers today, allows you to open multiple tabs within one window but here they run independently so if one session crashes it doesn’t bring all the others down. This helps keep malware away and also stops one tab from maliciously taking control of another.
It’s also very fast and has a nice way of keeping all the useful tools easily to hand without filling your screen with toolbars.
All in all, it’s certainly worth a look. It manages to have a very simple appearance while still containing all the important features. We’ll look forward to seeing how it grows.
More then one
Which one to use will depend what’s most important to you, but of course there’s nothing to stop you using a couple – one for fun and one for work. They’re all free, so why not get the ones that are best for you.