Internet Explorer has been the undisputed ruler of web browsing for more than 15 years. After its controversial annihilation of Netscape Navigator, IE enjoyed a long period of unchallenged dominance in the online world.
But when the Mozilla Firefox Project released Firefox 1.0 in late 2004, web users started placing faith in IE alternatives. Browsers such as Opera, Mozilla and Safari began gathering followers they hadn’t seen before, until collectively, non-IE browsers accounted for roughly half of all Internet traffic.
Today, telling someone which browser you use is kind of like answering the famous “Mac or PC?” question. It may even be the new “boxers or briefs?”
So, to celebrate world-wide-web diversity, and to perhaps give users an edge next time some tech geek hits them up with this question, here are 10 non-IE browsers you may not have considered.
OK, you’ve probably considered Mozilla Firefox, but when you have features with hip titles like the "Awesome Bar,” you can’t just walk by this heavyweight.
But it isn’t the "Awesome Bar" that makes Firefox (by some accounts) the second-most popular browser online today. Firefox allows users to contribute add-ons, which other users can then download and install to make Firefox a highly personalized experience.
As Ryan Paul of ArsTechnica.com noted, “Although Firefox is falling behind the alternatives in some key areas like performance, the open source browser still delivers peerless flexibility with a rich add-on system and unrivaled support for extensibility. Mozilla's curated extension archive has over 60,000 add-ons that have been contributed by third-party developers.”
Google enjoys the rare honor of being both a company and a verb. People don’t search for the content they need online, they Google it.
Oh sure, Chrome has its own library of extensions for users to download and personalize their experience with, but nothing like what Firefox is providing.
No, Google Chrome has become one of the fastest growing browsers because of its simplicity, its beauty and its ability to load content faster than almost anything else out there.
Apple hasn’t made the same splash online that it has in the music and mobile worlds. In fact, most Windows users probably don’t even know Apple has made its browser available to non-Mac users.
But those who have tried it, whether on the Mac or on PC, probably admit that once again Apple takes home the best design award. Something as routine as searching through browsing history is now a beautiful, 3D-graphical experience.
But while Safari is both fast and beautiful, most users wouldn’t exactly call it feature-rich.
“Safari can be seen as either being a zippy lightweight alternative or lacking many helpful options that competitors offer,” said Seth Rosenblatt of cnet.com.
Many people know Opera because it’s the browser they use on their cell phone or gaming console. But Linux, Mac and Windows users shouldn’t ignore the desktop version, which is now enjoying its 11th major release.
Opera is an elegant and speedy Swiss Army Knife of browsers, that now joins Firefox in the ability to allow user contributions.
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