Competition is a good thing, right? So it is with browsers for Mac users. Apple gives us Safari. Fast, sleek, capable. Mozilla gives us Firefox—loaded with features.
Google gives us Chrome. Faster, more stable, less pretty. If you’re venturing beyond Safari, check the head-to-head battle between Mozilla’s new Firefox 4 and see how it compares with Google’s latest shiny Chrome browser.
Love Is A Many Browser Thing
Safari is fine and fits well within Apple’s design for Mac users. If you want more—speed, stability, features, functions—you have to venture away from Apple’s walled garden Kingdom of Jobs.
Depending on your tastes and needs, you’ll find a notable difference in approach with both browsers.
Chrome is based on WebKit, which is what drives Apple’s Safari browser (Mac and Windows). For the most part Chrome renders web pages as fast or faster than Safari, and the pages look great.
Beauty Is Only Browser Skin Deep
Looks. That’s where Chrome falls apart. In typical Google fashion, Chrome is bare bones and knuckle ugly, as if the engineers are still waiting for a back ordered design to slap on the outside.
Inside, where looks don’t matter, Chrome is awesome. Chrome has extensions (not as many as Firefox) but no bookmark manager (a Safari strongpoint). Google claims to have fixed 800 bugs in the latest version (which says something about previous versions). PDF’s can be viewed in Chrome’s highly touted security sandbox.
This version of Chrome, as with the others before it, is a work in progress. In just a few short years, Chrome has gone from zero to version 8, yet still lags in the feature department against Mozilla’s Firefox 4.
I like Chrome’s speed and stability but miss the refinements in Safari. And browser window tabs that don’t insult my design gene.
Mozilla Builds A Feature Farm
Mac switchers from Windows PCs will feel at home with Firefox 4. Mozilla claims the latest is faster and more secure, and unlike Chrome and Safari, easily personalized.
In fact, Firefox is so loaded with features and new functions it makes you wonder how Google got Chrome to version 8 but still can’t design an attractive tab.
Firefox has an ultra private mode built in, too.
I can’t see much difference in page load speed between Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, making this one of the fastest browsers ever. Alas, only Windows users get the Flash Crash Sandbox™ protection.
The Firefox claim to fame is add-ons. Add up all the add-ons for all other browsers and combined they won’t come anywhere near what’s available for Firefox now. The Add-Ons Manager makes it easy to find and install extensions, themes, and plugins.
The Silver Lined Mixed Bag
If you’re into customizing and personalizing your Mac, Firefox wins the Pretty & Gaudy™ race, hands down. Both Chrome and Firefox claim to have advanced HTML5 graphics capability, but Mozilla still doesn’t like H.264 video.
I like the built-in update feature and session restore—functions sorely lacking in Chrome 8 for Mac (for now).
All three browsers have developed to excellent levels (Safari still doesn’t know that Empty Cache should mean empty). I use Google Chrome 8 for the built-in Flash (removing it entirely from Safari), speed, and stability. Firefox gets the nod for add-ons and functions. Check out this list of features and compare it to the bare bones list on Chrome.
If your browsing experience is about page rendering speed then all three major Mac browsers do a good job. Only one has more features than Google or Apple has hubris.