Trish, is there any difference between using Chrome or Safari?
Hi there, and welcome back to another week of Ask Trish!
Thank you so much to this week’s questioner for the fantastic question. You’ve raised a topic that, if you can believe it, we’ve yet to discuss on Ask Trish (I know – gasp! I thought we’d covered it all, too): internet browsers. We use internet browsers like Chrome and Safari every single day, but, I’m willing to guess, very rarely reflect on what they actually are, the different browsers out there (and what distinguishes them), and which browser(s) may be best for us, given our needs and preferences. And that’s a shame, because internet browsers are a fundamental – and important – part of our digital experience.
But not to fear – Trish is here! (I know, that’s corny…but I kind of love it, so bear with me.) This week, I’ll be diving into internet browsers. I’ll begin with a very basic, brief overview of what internet browsers are and how they work. I’ll then walk you through a simplified look at some of the most popular internet browsers and their features. (I’ll leave the task of deciding which browser(s) are best to you – but hopefully, my overview is helpful food for thought!) (And for this week’s questioner – as we make our way through this information, it’ll soon become clear that there are indeed differences between Chrome and Safari.)
Sound good? Let’s get into it:
Let’s start by understanding what, exactly, an internet browser is. In simple terms, an internet browser (like Safari) is a software program that lets you view the web on your computer. People often refer to it as “the gateway to the internet.” (Think about it: if you want to visit your favorite website, what’s your first step? Opening up your internet browser, of course!) So, what exactly does an internet browser do? Again, put simply, an internet browser translates the code that computers use to create websites into all of the pretty graphics and features that we love today. Its graphical interface also makes it easier to understand and navigate the web. Indeed, it was some of the first internet browsers – like “Mosaic” – that helped ignite widespread use of the internet. Folks no longer needed to be technical geniuses to get online – a major improvement.
Okay – now that we have a sense of what an internet browser is, what are the different internet browsers? In an effort to avoid information overload, I’ve put together a very brief overview of each of four browsers below. Check them out to get a sense of each and compare and contrast. As you do, I’d encourage you to reflect on two questions: 1) what browser(s) do I currently mostly use? 2) Are those the best browsers for me?
Market share/popularity (2023): 63.51% – As you could’ve likely guessed, Google Chrome is the most popular internet browser out there.
- Google Chrome has a larger library of Extensions, or browser add-ons/features, than any other browser
- It’s familiar…because it’s so ubiquitous, there’s a good chance you know and are comfortable/savvy with Google Chrome
- Its design is pretty sleek and its performance is fast
- You can log into your Google account and synchronize all of your Chrome data (e.g., bookmarks) across devices
- Most would agree that Chrome is not the most privacy-forward browser, with other competitors, like Safari, doing more to safeguard your privacy
Market share/popularity (2023): 20.43% – Apple’s Safari is pretty far behind Chrome, but still quite popular.
- A very clean and straightforward design that makes the browser easy to use
- Consumes less memory, making it less likely (at least relative to Chrome) to crash
- Supports mobile extensions, so you can customize your web browsing experience on your mobile device, too
- Gathers less user data than Chrome (#privacy – yay!)
- Less customizable than Chrome
- Chrome is arguably faster
Company: Mozilla Foundation/Mozilla Corporation
Market share/popularity (2023): 2.77% – …Aaand we’re in the single digits. Mozilla’s Firefox is far less popular than Apple and Safari.
- Much like Safari, Firefox is a very privacy-forward browser, with lots of privacy settings enabled by default (which Chrome does not necessarily do)
- It also (once again) consumes less memory than Chrome, making it less likely to crash
- Unlike Chrome, Firefox offers text to speech – that is, it’ll read your webpages aloud to you. Not only can this be helpful, depending on your needs, it may make the internet more accessible
- Unfortunately, Firefox can suffer from compatibility issues – some websites don’t load properly in the browser
- Firefox also takes up a lot of memory to run, which can lead to crashes
Market share/popularity (2023): 4.96% – Microsoft Edge’s market share is close to 5%.
- Includes lots of unique features, including, like Firefox, text to speech, and Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant (which can help you with various tasks)
- Once again, it generally consumes little memory…whoo-hoo for your browser not crashing!
- If you use Microsoft 365 services (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, etc.), Edge makes it easy to access these tools from your browser…definitely a #win
- Because of its limited use by internet users, Edge’s Extensions are still relatively limited compared to Chrome’s and Firefox’s
- Like Firefox, Edge can also suffer from compatibility issues, which can be frustrating
I hope you found this post to be a helpful overview of some of the most popular internet browsers and a valuable opportunity to reflect on the browsers you interact with. At the end of the day, it’s up to you which browser(s) you choose to use – and I hope this post gives you a bit more of a sense of which may be best for you. Happy browser exploration!
Before I sign off, as always, one last thing – if this post has got you wondering about an internet-related question or concern (whether it’s about browsers or not!), please, please, please share it here. Your question just might be featured in an upcoming TikTok/blog post! I absolutely love hearing from you all and offering you what I hope is some valuable advice, so ask away! If you’ve got 10 questions, submit 10 questions! I’m here to help. Thank you in advance for being vulnerable and sharing your experiences with me.