The battle for best browser can be settled with one picture, the one above. Look at the top menu bars. I have ordered them from thickest to thinnest. Chrome wins by a millimeter. ‘Nuff said.
Internet Explorer 9 made a nice attempt at thinnest top menu bar. At first you might think Microsoft’s newest browser turns over a new leaf, erasing all horrible memories the turdlike Internet Explorer 8, pathetic Internet Explorer 7, and living fossil Internet Explorer 6. Look at the security settings, though, and you will again
see the backwards security settings slider that has confused all peoples since the late 1990s. Then try out “web slices”. I tried out a “web slice” for CNN and I still have no idea what it is supposed to be. This is a picture of the web slice in action. Perhaps, in theory, it was supposed to work.
Internet Explorer also has a goodwill problem. While all the other browsers have been working on cross platform compatibility and bookmark syncing, Internet Explorer 9 is just for Windows Vista and Windows 7. That means if you run Windows XP, like about half of the planet, and you want to run a modern browser, you cannot run Internet Explorer. All those Windows XP users have literally been disenfranchised by Internet Explorer. It may win some benchmarks but it won’t win any hearts.
The most glaring omission from Internet Explorer 9 is the Adblock extension. Internet Explorer 9 does not have many extension at all. It has something called “Accelerators”, but I have no idea what those are either. Just to put this in perspective, all the other browsers have extensions, including Adblock. Do you know all those annoying ads that ruin your browsing experience? If you use Adblock, you don’t.
Chrome one upped extension. Extensions are for grandpa. Chrome has apps. Now instead of going to a web page you can run an app, which is really just a web page that looks and runs incredibly well in Chrome. Huffington Post’s Glide, for example, looks and runs in Chrome exactly the same as the Huffington Post Glide iPad app, which makes me wonder if apps for Chrome are really just iPad apps. That’s not a bad thing at all.
Safari, being the oldest browser now, suffers the most in benchmarks. Though it has a thinner menu bar than Firefox, it does not have tabs on top. The search bar is also not integrated with the address bar. Booting up chrome feels like traveling back in time to six months ago. That is a shame because Safari just looks awesome. Reader, top sites, and the history all look better than anything Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Chrome has.
This what your web site history looks like in Safari.
Safari on the Mac includes even more great features: built in PDF read (a good one, not like the one in Chrome), integration with iLife, web clipping, easy sharing, etc. Safari is so pleasant and so full of built in goodness that I would make it my number one browser but for one painful omission, editing bookmarks from the bookmark bar. I have checked out all the other browsers and all of them let you move around and delete bookmarks from the bookmark bar (“favorites” bar in Internet Explorer). Safari forces me to move all my bookmarks around in the bookmarks manager, and even then it isn’t easy. That’s why I pick Chrome over Safari. Not because of how fast, stable, or secure Chrome is but because bookmarks are easier to manage in Chrome.
Yay, Chrome wins the browser wars. It’s over, right? No. Now that Chrome is popular, Google has pulled a crappy move right out of the big monopoly corporation playbook, they are using Chrome to push their WebM video codec down our throats. To make way for WebM videos, Chrome no longer supports video encoded in h.264. Ordinarily I would not give a can of beans as to which codec video on the internet is encoded in. However, I have a personal stake in this. All of my videos, every single video I have on my home computer and on my MobileMe galleries, is encoded in h.264. It is the one universal format that works on my Blackberry, my wife’s iPhone, her iPad, our two Blu-Ray players, and my Xbox 360. The only place it now does not work is in Chrome. I would expect that kind of move from Microsoft or Sony (heck, even Apple), but not Google. For shame, Google. For shame. Instead of enjoying the fruits of browser wars victory, I have become its casualty.