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Tech Talk with Greg Bailey

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In older articles, I’ve mentioned the alternative Internet browsers Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Today I thought I’d talk about why you might want to use one of these browsers, or a completely different browser all together.

Worldwide, Internet Explorer is easily the most used Internet browser, mainly due to availability. On every new PC it already comes pre-installed, meaning most people begin their Internet experience with Internet Explorer and never even consider a different browser. Recently however, Internet’s Explorer’s dominance has been challenged by Firefox. While IE will likely continue to hold on to the top position in the forseeable future because of dominant user shares in countries like South Korea and especially China, Firefox is and will continue to make gains globally. The other browser I mentioned, Google Chrome, has been on an even swifter rise in popularity in the past two years. Released in 2008, Chrome is a simple and easy browser to use, which may have had something to use with the swift growth of it’s usage share.

So why should you switch to them? One of the best reasons is customization ability. Both Firefox and Chrome supports user created and approved add-ons or extensions which are made to make your browsing experience more enjoyable. The most popular extensions for both browsers tend to make small but useful changes like making text links clickable instead of having to copy and paste them into an address bar.

Another reason to consider switching is security. Of the three browsers I’ve spoken of, Internet Explorer is widely considered to be the least secure of the three. To this day, several versions of Internet Explorer, not only older versions but the most recent, have many unaddressed security concerns of various severity. What may be cause for even greater concern is that while IE does fix the major security concerns, their response time in such a problem is abysmal. They can take months, while Firefox and Chrome have been shown to take days.

The biggest reason people prefer alternate browsers though is speed. Firefox and Chrome are both provably faster at loading web pages than IE. Chrome, in fact, is built around being simple, fast, and lightweight (doesn’t use as much memory as other browsers, Firefox is a notorious memory hog). No one likes waiting around for a web page to load, so even if you think you’re satisfied with the speed of whatever you are using now, don’t be afraid to try a different browser and see if you like it better. Most modern browsers have a way to transfer settings and favorites between browsers, so switching is as fast as installing the browser and making a few clicks.

Regardless of whether you decide to change browsers or not, it is extremely important that you keep your browser updated! This is especially important if you are using Internet Explorer, although it applies to any browser. Keeping your Internet browser updated is another simple way to reduce security vulnerability, and it will definitely give you a smoother browsing experience.

Any questions, requests for clarifications, or comments can be sent to gregbailey9@ gmail.com. Greg Bailey is a Computer Science major at UCR.

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