Internet browser shootout: Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Opera vs. Safari vs. Vivaldi
- Developer: Google
- Engine: Blink (Chromium)
- Desktop platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux
- Price: Free
Pros: Fast, intuitive, clever smart address bar, tight integration with Android
Cons: Concerns around security and privacy
The rise of Google Chrome as the most popular web browser in the world mirrors the meteoric rise of its parent company’s search services. Today, on the desktop, Google Chrome has an unassailable market share of just under 70% — way ahead of second-place Firefox with about 10% and third-place Safari with 7.25%.
One of the reasons for Google Chrome’s popularity is its customizability. Like its rival Firefox, Google Chrome has a library of extensions that range from the useful and practical — like adblockers and quick translators — to the whimsical and fancy — like Tabby Cat, an extension that opens every new tab with an interactive kitty cat. On top of extensions, you have Themes that enable users to change the look of the browser too.
Another reason for Google Chrome’s popularity is Android. If you are an Android phone user, there’s a good chance you want to use Google Chrome on your desktop too just so you can consolidate and sync all of your opened tabs, bookmarks, and browsing history on your Google account. Doing so allows you to quickly switch between devices and continue browsing. It’s not quite as seamless as Safari on an iPhone and Mac but it’s probably the next best thing.
It’s also worth mentioning that the above-mentioned syncing feature isn’t limited to Android devices. Because Google Chrome is available on every major platform, you can even do this if you are using an iPhone or iPad. Simply download Google Chrome on your iOS device and you are good.
One of Google Chrome’s standout feature is its smart address bar. You can type questions like, “How many grams is 1kg” or “Japan weather”, and get answers directly in the address bar without having to navigate to another page. It even searches your Google Drive to see if there are relevant documents. It’s intuitive and fast and makes you wonder why this feature isn’t available on more browsers. Only Safari has something similar but its implementation is a little different.
Performance was Google Chrome’s biggest advantage when it was first released. But over the years, it gained a reputation for being a resource hog. Fortunately, recent updates have been aimed at addressing this and it seems to have paid off. Google Chrome is powered by the Blink engine, which is actually a fork of the WebKit engine. Compared to WebKit, Blink favors flexibility over efficiency.
In our tests with 20 tabs opened, Google Chrome recorded the least memory usage. Its CPU utilization was also one of the lowest and it managed one of the highest scores on JetStream 2. I concur with these findings as I found Google Chrome to be really snappy and responsive, even with many tabs opened and on my 2018 MacBook Air - which isn’t the most powerful device. It seems then that its reputation for being bloated and a memory hog is undeserved.
Overall, I found Google Chrome to be a capable browser offering good performance, customization options, and useful features. Its position as the world’s most popular browser is well deserved even if there are surrounding concerns around privacy and security.