Thirteen reasons not to use Chrome

Posted Friday, Mar 3, 2017 by Jeff Safire

I use the Chrome browser for Web development because it has the best developer mode/tools built-in. But for normal browsing/surfing, because it spawns a separate process for each web page, that puts too much of a load on memory with my typical 25-30 open pages/tabs; Opera seems best for that because you can pause background pages/tabs. But, on a Mac (which I am 97% of the time) Safari has some features that help it play nicely in the Mac/Apple world. And even Firefox still has some nice features the others don’t offer. For everyday browsing, my pick is Opera. The points in this article may help to choose a browser to improve your surfing experience.   – Jeff

Chrome may be the world’s most popular browser, but it isn’t necessarily the best one

Contributing Editor, InfoWorld Mar 2, 2017 3:00 AM PT

Credit: Isaac Bowen

OK, we’re kidding a bit. Chrome is great. Google did a wonderful job with it—and continues improving it every day. The marketplace recognizes this, and many surveys show Chrome is the most popular browser by far.

It’s not hard to see why. Chrome is stable, in part because its architects made a smart decision to put each web page in a separate process. It has excellent HTML5 standards support, loads of extensions, synchronization across computers, and tight integration with Google’s cloud services. All of these reasons and more make Chrome the popular choice.

But Chrome isn’t perfect, and it’s not the only bundle of bits that can fetch a URL. There are plenty of other good options, and you should explore them for all of these 13 reasons and maybe a few more.

You like fast downloads

Opera was one of the first to stick its own servers in the path between your browser and the larger web. Adding a middleman might slow down some things in life, but not here. Opera designed its Turbo system to cache web pages and compress all of the data into smaller chunks of data. This saves your mobile data and helps the page download faster. That’s why a number of the other browsers offer similar features. Chrome users, for instance, can install the Data Saver extension.

You like fast JavaScript

Benchmarks are fickle and don’t always represent real browsing performance, but they’re better than nothing. When DigitalTrends pushed seven browsers through three different sets of benchmarks (JetStream, Octane, and Kraken), Chrome didn’t win once. It came close occasionally, but Edge, Opera, and Vivaldi are the three main browsers that finished ahead of Chrome, at least on some tests.

You use a battery

Batteries have a finite amount of power. Opera has a feature that lets you use less power by shutting down the activity in background tabs and other corners out of sight. It also turns off eye-catching but functionally worthless animation. All of this adds up. In Opera’s own tests, it found its browser lasted 35 percent longer than Chrome when visiting the same pages. That translated into an hour of extra browsing on the test machine.

Mac users should check out Safari too. One test reported by the Cult of Mac showed a MacBook lasting 35 percent longer when it ran Safari instead of Chrome.

You hate phishing

Security testing group NSS Labs tried out Chrome, Edge, and Firefox for resistance to phishing attempts by trying to load dangerous URLs and measuring when and if the browsers blocked them. Edge blocked the most URLs over time (93 percent vs. 86 percent for Chrome and 85 percent for Firefox) and did it faster (with a total response time of 0.4 hour vs. 1 hour for Chrome and 1.4 hours for Firefox). The tests lasted 12 days in October 2016 and included 991 malicious URLs. Your malicious clicks may vary, but it’s clear that Microsoft is serious about building a safer browser.

You hate malware

The same NSS Labs report also contained results from tests of the browsers’ success in stopping “social engineering malware,” a general term that includes bad software distributed through links that are often sent through hijacked email accounts. NSS Labs began with more than 220,000 URLs and found 5,224 bad URLs. Edge blocked 99.3 percent, while Chrome blocked 95.7 percent and Firefox 81.9 percent.

You like a VPN

Opera’s Turbo services don’t simply speed up the web. They can offer privacy and protection too. If you want to enable a VPN, Opera has one built in and ready to go. You don’t need to install extensions or subscribe to services. The VPN is ready to protect you whenever you’re on public Wi-Fi networks.

 

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