Technology Solutions Georgetown TXIt’s hard to believe that the Internet has been with us for two decades now. Back in the day, websites were simple, static things that looked more like digital posters than anything else. Today, the Internet not only serves up websites but all manner of services and apps. More and more devices are connecting to the Internet, but for many of us our prime interaction with the Internet is still the web browser. We even use browsers on our phones and tablets today to access news, shopping, general information and spend countless hours looking at adorable pet photos (don’t deny it, you know you have). So I thought it might be useful to look at browsers and how they compare to each other.

Microsoft Internet Explorer- The quintessential Microsoft Windows browser. It has been a staple of Windows web browsing since the Windows 95 days. Some love it, some hate it. With the introduction of Internet Explorer 11, it caused some issues with websites that had database back-ends. Many of these sites had to be added to compatibility mode to work properly. With Windows 10, Microsoft is in the process of retiring Internet Explorer in favor of its new browser Microsoft Edge.

Microsoft Edge- The latest, greatest (and edgiest) Microsoft browser. It resembles Internet Explorer but is streamlined and revamped for the Windows 10 interface. It is the default browser for Window 10 (though you can change the default to another browser). It integrates to Cortana, the new search feature for Windows 10. It has rather limited support for extensions and customization though.

Google Chrome- Perhaps the most well-known and popular browser, Chrome is used widely and has a lot of features. It offers full integration with Google Accounts and syncs between devices so you can browse seamlessly across multiple devices. You can log into your Google account and access all you bookmarks, saved data and preferences. Chrome also has good extension support. Many people love Chrome.

Mozilla Firefox- Firefox was the big dog for many years but has been eclipsed a bit by Chrome. It is still an outstanding browser and has great extension support and is very customizable. The great extension support allows Firefox to be one of the most secure browsers. Because of this, the TOR Project customizes Firefox for use in their network for anonymous browsing. Firefox does have a mobile app so you can share bookmarks across devices but it isn’t quite as seamless as Chrome.

Opera- Opera has been around for a long time, since the early days of the Internet. Opera is built on the same Chromium engine from Google that the Chrome browser is, so they have a similar user experience. Opera has some additional things built in that Chrome uses Extensions to achieve, like web page stash for saving pages and a place where all you frequent page visits reside without having to create a new tab.

Safari- The quintessential Apple browser. Safari comes as the default browser with Mac OS and iOS computers and devices. It’s fast and has good features. It lacks a lot of customization that other browsers offer, but Apple keeps tight control of their software which helps make it more secure.

Vivaldi- A newcomer to the browser wars, Vivaldi lays out your browser via the setup process when you install it so that the browser is laid out unique to you and your preferences. This makes it highly customizable. You can choose from themes, put the address bar where you want, display tabs where you want, you get the idea. This browser can be a bit overwhelming for first-time users due to the range of options though. Also, it currently only has desktop support for Windows 10, Mac OS and Linux. No mobile browsing, though that may change in time.

There are other browsers out there like Brave, Maxthon, and others, but many of these are niche or in development and should probably be avoided unless you are feeling intrepid in your Internet explorations. Like many things, browser selection comes down to comfort and personal choice. So enjoy your countless hours of adorable pet browsing!



By Kurt Rinear
Director of Technical Services
Central Texas Technology Solutions