What browser do you use? For most of the past decade, Mac users who visit my website and Mac360, the two sites for which I have access to such information, use Safari the most; to the tune of about 65-percent or so. After that, it’s Google’s Chrome, then Mozilla’s Firefox, and a growing number of new browsers which focus on privacy and security.
Which browser do you use?
I understand the sentiment for Safari. It’s fast, elegant, flexible with extension add-ons, and Apple builds in a good variety of privacy and security safeguards, including the option to block ads and trackers.
Yet, Safari’s default search engine is Google, the internet’s most notorious surveillance tracker system; a policy which nets Apple a few billion dollars a year in revenue. One can argue that Apple is complicit in Google’s tracking mechanism for money, user privacy be damned.
Google’s Chrome browser is fast, but privacy and security features are not front and foremost, even though you can install extensions to blocks ads and trackers. Remember, to Google, you’re not the customer. You’re a user. And that means you’re merely part of the product. Google’s revenue and profits are derived from tracking users online habit. These days Chrome has grown bloated and slow; something of a resource hog relative to Safari and the newly re-engineered Firefox.
That brings me to what I want from a browser and which might help explain why I use more than one on each device. Safari remains my standard but I’ve ditched Chrome because it’s a battery hog, resource suck, and I’m tired of being tracked all the time while I’m online. Mozilla gets a chunk of its revenue from search engine use, too, but note the new found interest in privacy and security, as well as performance in Firefox Quantum.
Firefox is the fastest browser I’ve ever used. Ever. On a fast internet connection, webpages snap to the screen so fast that sometimes the CSS file– which tells the browser how to format the page– takes an extra, and visible, moment to form the page onscreen. That’s fast. On the surface, Firefox Quantum just looks like a browser.
It’s what’s inside and beyond the tabs that makes Firefox stand out.
First, Firefox is crazy fast. Try it and compare it to Safari or Chrome or any other browser. It uses less memory, less battery, and lets you open dozens of tabs and switch easily from one page to another with fewer hiccups. Private Browsing mode is built in so trackers won’t find it easy to track you or remember your history (best if combined with a virtual private network).
Firefox has the standard bookmarks (with sync between browsers on different devices), autofill of basic information, and easy removal of browsing history, but easy insert of website usernames and passwords. This is still Firefox so most of the extension add-ons you used in the past probably work on the latest version (and Firefox checks, just to make sure).
In the end what you get should be what you want. Fast webpage loads, less battery hogging, more privacy and security options. What’s not to like? Not much but I have a list of things I want to see. For iPhone and Android, Mozilla publishes the Firefox Focus browser which is all about privacy and security and wipes your browser history with a tap to the Erase button. That belongs on Firefox Quantum, too. Focus automatically blocks ads with sneaky and hidden trackers that collect data while you’re browsing.
Why is that good?
First, it makes for a faster browsing experience because all those ads and trackers don’t slow down the browser or take up more bandwidth. Second, who wants websites to track you while you’re reading? Third, who wants all those advertisers and ad trackers to follow you while you browse to other websites?
The browser wars are back and this time the best browsers are user centric— not advertiser centric– and that’s a good thing. Plus, all these new browsers are free.