Some technologists say we live in The Golden Age of Browsers. Maybe so, maybe not, but we have plenty of browser choices these days and as far as I can tell, most of the browsers are pretty damned good.
What we want in a browser of choice is not universal, of course, but the basics are obvious. Speed at downloading website pages, accurate website page rendering, a handful of useful features that varies by user, integration with password managers, and free. Are all browsers created equal? No.
Based upon an occasional look at Mac360’s server logs, we can identify the most used browsers for Mac users and the results remain rather steady through the early years of The Golden Age of Browsers. Safari tops the list with about 55-percent usage, followed by Google’s Chrome browser at 25-percent, then Mozilla’s Firefox at 15-percent, with all other browsers– Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, et al– sharing the crumbs.
That Safari is the Mac’s most used browser is not a surprise, and neither is it a surprise that most Mac360 readers use Safari. What is a surprise is Google’s Chrome because by now everyone should know just how much tracking Google performs across the interwebs and how much personal information has been culled, stored, sifted, and shared with other advertising entities.
Safari allows for ad blockers and tracker blockers. Mozilla’s latest Firefox has blockers built-in, as do Opera, Vivaldi, Brave, and others. Why do they build in advertising and tracker blockers? Slowly but surely browser users have begun to recognize that Google’s popular browser– the most popular and most used on planet earth– is part of a tracking scheme that does not benefit users.
For years Chrome has been the battery hog on smartphones, Windows-based PC notebooks, and Mac notebooks, and even though ad blockers and tracker blockers are all the rage these days, their presence remains a minority among browser users. Peter Wayner compiled a list of reasons not to use Chrome.
You Like Fast Downloads – Chrome is not the fastest browser; among the major browsers in use today and mentioned above, it is among the slowest.
You Use A Battery – Power gets sucked up faster when using Chrome than any other listed browser.
You Hate Phishing – A lab test of benchmarks came up with a surprising winner. It wasn’t Google’s Chrome browser.
You Hate Malware – As much as Chrome is used by the great unwashed masses you would expect a better result at identifying and marking malware. Firefox is worse, though.
You Like VPNs – Opera’s Turbo services speed up your browsing experience to a level near Firefox Quantum (the fastest major browser) but also comes with a built-in VPN, a security technology which helps to thwart Google’s Chrome tracking capability.
You Need Privacy – You can get all geeky on your bad self with paranoid browsers like Tor Browser, Epic, and others, but Opera and Firefox do a far better job of hiding your presence on the interwebs than Chrome.
You Hate Monocultures – Google’s free software is designed to give you what you want– functions for free– in exchange for information about you, your household, your location, your browsing habits, your purchases, your income and health and God only knows how much more. That colorful Google log and playful Chrome logo hide what’s really going on while you browse.
You get the idea. As major and wannabe browsers go, Chrome is the one that impacts your online health in a way that isn’t healthy for you. As always, your mileage may vary, but I can say without hesitation that Chrome is the worst browser on my Mac.