Google Chrome is the most popular browser on the desktop at the moment, but is it the best? I was a reasonably early adopter of Chrome and fell in love with its speed. Nowadays I don’t use Chrome at all. What happened?
When I first started using Chrome, the things I loved that set it apart from the rest was a feeling of greater responsiveness, a fantastic web developer tool which felt quicker and lighter than firebug on firefox and last but not least: the ability to drag singular windows and create new tabs. Back in the day, there was an experimental feature called side tabs, which let you have your tabs in a vertical listing. This feature was dropped and has still yet to make its way back in (don’t hold your breath). That was and is a major annoyance, but not the biggest.
There are two main reasons I stopped using Chrome. For one, it’s too tightly integrated into Google. I consider that a bad thing. Over the years Google’s products have crept into almost everything I do online. With every new product it takes a bigger piece of the pie of my personal data (and of others). When Chrome started becoming a bit too integrated with Google’s other services I took it as the right timing to start reducing my footprint. Giving Chrome the boot was a good place to start, which brings me to reason number 2:
There are better browsers than Chrome. While Chrome once appeared to lead the pack in terms of speed, which is a huge factor, other vendors have caught up. Even Internet Explorer has decent performance in version 9 and 10. But, the real contenders that are on par with Chrome are Opera, Firefox and… drumroll please…Comodo Dragon. Comodo what you say? Comodo Dragon.
Most people have used Firefox at one point or another. It has a reputation for being a memory hog and updating the browser was a pain compared to Chrome. Right now, version 16 (now in Beta) has finally got a silent updates feature, which means there’s no more nagging for updates and users will be more likely to have the latest and best version running at all times. That’s fantastic. Firefox also closed a longstanding memory leak issue, which makes it a lot lighter to run. They have also introduced a nice set of unique web developer tools, such as the 3d view, a new command line interface and Responsive Design View. Of course, you get vertical tabs enabled with an addon, which is a huge productivity booster if you’re like me and are regularly running several dozens of tabs.
Opera is another interesting player. They have a small market share in terms of percentages, but it still equates to millions of desktop users using on the desktop (their mobile browser has a much greater share of the market though). Opera has always been one of the most innovating browsers that has been copied. Separate Tabs, sidebar tabs, sessions…these features all started life in Opera first. Opera Desktop still is a very good browser, it’s fast, and to my mind it is probably the stablest browser when running a gigantic number of tabs. It has a fast boot up time as well. There are a few issues working against Opera’s favor. Some websites don’t offer proper Opera support and you’ll often find that Firefox and Chrome support newly developing web standards earlier than Opera will. As a web developer, that is a bit of detractor.
Comodo Dragon is hardly known, but it runs the same stuff Chrome does: Chromium, which is the open source machinery driving Chrome. Comodo Dragon is essentially Chrome without Google’s hands in every corner. Comodo the company is a marketleader in internet security and it comes to no surprise that their browser offering offers a multitude of security and privacy perks. If those are things you value (and they should) and you like Chrome, Comodo Dragon is a significant upgrade. An upgrade with no downsides as far as I can see.
Right now Comodo Dragon is my main browser, but with FireFox 16 I find myself falling back in love with Mozilla’s product. What’s your favorite browser, and why?