The private school near Chicago where my husband and I work has many hundreds of Macs and PCs, Chromebooks and iPads, and, yes, students, faculty, and staff with a vast array of iPhones and Android smartphones.
That means browsers. Lots of different browsers. It’s a good thing we live in the Golden Age of Browsers because browsers remain relevant even when applications often do their own searches. The past year has seen a noted increase in new browsers. Here are two I really like and for obvious reasons.
Instead of browsers that have every feature under the sun– Safari, Chrome, and Firefox, I’m looking at you– this crop of new browsers takes a different approach.
Firefox Focus – iPhone and iPad users have Safari, Chrome, and a dozen other browsers, but if security is an issue for you then you’ll like Firefox Focus. This simple browser works on iOS and Android, blocks ads with trackers, speeds up website page loading considerably (it doesn’t download all those trackers, which make up the largest portion of a website page). One tap to the Erase button in the toolbar and all your browsing history disappears. Poof. Gone.
Compare that to how many steps it takes in Chrome or Firefox to delete your browsing history. In Firefox Focus everything disappears with a tap. Add Focus to a VPN while you’re online and you’ve got some hefty privacy and security going on. Alas, no Focus for the Mac, but the macOS High Sierra version of Firefox is even faster and can still block ads and trackers.
Cake – Not all browsers are created equally and some can be accused of thinking differently, including Cake. It’s a browser for iPhone and Android smartphones but the claim to fame here is the search results (even though there are ad blocking and privacy options built in).
What happens when you type in search engine keywords? The results pop up on the screen, but then you’re forced to bounce back and forth between the results page and each result page. Choose from Google or Bing as the default search engine. Enter a few keywords. The first result is displayed on the screen. To get to the second, third, fourth result, and so on, simply swipe from right to left on the screen. That makes the back and forth to view search results much, much easier.
Cake features an option to customize search results, set up favorite websites, and make personalized swipe-able collections. It even works with iOS 11’s Password Keychain. This back and forth swipe thing becomes a habit very quickly. Alas, no Cake for Mac users, either.
For a few years I though this Golden Age of Browsers meant all browsers were good but boring. That’s no longer the case. Firefox Focus brings more privacy and security in a drop dead simple to use package, and Cake makes browsing search engine results about as easy as you can get.
Both are free.