To PC users, Internet Explorer is the online web browser to use. For Mac users, it’s Safari. After all, those are the ones that come pre-installed to those respective operating systems. But, after a conversation with my brother, I learned that not everyone realizes that there are more Internet browsers out there than just those two. There are alternatives that can be downloaded for free, providing a more up-to-date and possibly a better online experience that what you’re getting out of your pre-installed browser. Here are the other three browsers that you may, or may not, have heard of. Each is completely free to download.
Okay, so you’ve probably heard of Google Chrome (hopefully). One of the most useful features of the Chrome web browser is that the address bar also serves as a search bar. So, just type in your keyword and automatically pops up the Google results. Chrome also comes with the Chrome Web Store, so you can add many of your favorite and most-used apps right to your browser. This is great if you decide to use any one of the many online services it out there, whether it’s a productivity suite or online accounting or file storage. Google Chrome doesn’t have as many themes as Mozilla Firefox (see below), however, I don’t find Chrome to be as buggy as Firefox. Besides, the lack of themes is made up for with the amount of personalization you can get with the app store.
Based out of Norway, Opera is an up and coming browser that has several useful add-ons to boost your online experience. These add-ons include Opera Mail, Opera Link (which allows you to access your bookmarks from anywhere), Opera Turbo (great for slow connections), and Opera Widgets, which is similar to Chrome’s web store. Opera also has a lot of little features that the other two don’t, like the ability to rearrange the layout of toolbar, prevent a tab from closing (we’ve all done that accidentally), or the ability to stack tabs. You can also save sets of tabs, so if you’re going online to do one thing, you can have it open up the sites you need automatically. If you need to do something else, have Opera open another set of tabs.
Of the three, Mozilla Firefox is the most popular browser out there. And it’s easy to see why that is. Firefox has, by far, the most themes and plugins out of the three browsers. You can give the sites that you always have open, like your email or your social networks, a permanent home on your browser. Firefox also comes with an integrated web search, so you’re not necessarily stuck searching on Google if you don’t want to. You can choose to search on Bing or Yahoo right from the search bar. I was an avid Firefox user for the longest time before I switched to Chrome. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I got tired dealing with the “unresponsive script” problem.
When was the last time you saw your online web browser as just the program you need to use the web? Well, we all use the web differently, so why not make the browser fit your needs so you don’t have to waste time clicking around? We are spending more and more time on the Internet, so make that time as useful and as personal as possible.