I currently have five browsers installed on my computer: Chrome Canary, Chrome beta, Opera, Firefox, and Internet Explorer– and I actually use them all.
Chrome is the browser developed by Google, based on the open source project Chromium. Most people have heard of the browsers Chrome (stable version), and Chrome beta (testing version, features are tested here before finally putting them on the stable version). However, there are actually two more versions: Chrome dev build, which is geared towards developers, and Chrome Canary, which is suited for developers testing their extensions and is the bleeding edge in Chrome updates and tweaks. The name Canary references the old practice of coal miners sending canaries down into the mine first to see if the air in the mine was toxic. In that way, Chrome Canary is like Google’s experimental playground– Canary is usually updated every single day, and features you see in Canary may never actually make it to the stable channel.
Because Canary is largely experimental, it is highly unstable, so I have the minimum but necessary extensions installed on it and do not sync it with my general Gmail account. Therefore, Chrome Canary is light and bleeding-edge-fast, and is usually my go-to browser.
my necessary extensions:
- Adblock Plus Beta
- Clean and Compact for Google Reader
- Super Full Feeds for Google Reader
- Flag For Chrome
- Google Dictionary
- Minimalist for Google Calendar
I use Chrome beta only if I have power to spare, because Chrome sucks up an awful lot of memory and battery. However, because this is the quasi-stable Chrome, I have the most extensions installed on Chrome beta to ensure the most seamless browsing experience, including many privacy controls. Ironically, because of all these extensions, Chrome beta freezes quite a lot as my computer’s memory becomes overwhelmed.
Important work gets done on Chrome beta, because it gets synced to my Gmail account.
extensions for a more seamless browsing experience:
- Tweetings For Twitter
- Silver Bird
- Chromium Smooth Wheel Scroller
- Facebook Disconnect
- Google Analytics Opt-Out
- Incredible Startpage
- KBS SSL Enforcer
- RSS Subscription (by Google)
- Smartvideo for YouTube
Opera is gorgeously designed and even more customizable than Firefox. However, it is incompatible with a bajillion websites and will not render them correctly. So, I only use Opera when I am doing something basic like checking email or reading news. I also like the download manager that opens in a new tab, so when I have downloads to do, I will use Opera. Opera is also adept at handling lots of Flash at once, unlike Chrome and Firefox; handy for loading many YouTube videos.
If I need compatibility and stability, Firefox is it. I will apply to internships in Firefox. However, it is terribly slow in starting and loves to crash when there is just too much Flash. I used to use Firefox to watch Hulu because the Adblock extension for Firefox could actually block the advertisements. However, Adblock for Chrome can do that now, too!
I keep Internet Explorer around just in case I run into an archaic website that stubbornly asks me to use Internet Explorer. Just in case. It has happened once. I think.
I used to have Safari, but I had gotten so used to the omnibox– where you can enter URLs or search queries– in Opera, Firefox, Chrome, and for goodness sakes, even Internet Explorer (!) that I got frustrated with Safari and uninstalled it. Safari used to be one of the innovative browsers but most people use Safari just because it is installed on their iPad/MacBook/iPhone (sounds suspiciously like the slow perdendo of IE’s demise).
I also have used Rockmelt, which is also based on Chromium, like Chrome. However, the biggest difference between Rockmelt and Chrome is that Facebook is deeply integrated with Rockmelt. I do not want my browser to be a reminder of Facebook! I spend too much time on that black hole already! So Rockmelt was nixed.
At the end of all this, just try different browsers! Don’t just stick to Internet Explorer! There are plenty of alternatives! :)