Thursday, December 10, 2009

Firefox vs. Opera vs. Safari vs. Camino vs. Shiira vs . . . Chrome?

Now that Google has finally released a Chrome beta for Mac, I have of course downloaded it . . . and am now seriously considering making it my default browser.  Now, I have to say that I happen to have every single web browser listed in the title.  And I know that that's far more web browsers than any normal self-respecting person needs, but I have never claimed to be normal.  And besides, how can I say that one web browser is the best when I haven't tried all of them?

Firefox.  Well, what can I say that hasn't already been said?  Widely regarded as the fastest, best, coolest browser, with thousands of add-ons (which other browsers don't come close to replicating).  However, maybe because I feel like being a rebel, I find I don't use it that often.

Opera.  I've used it as my default for a while.  It has some definite shortcomings, including a tendency to freak out over my school's website and refusing to let me tag people in statuses on Facebook.  However, those are more than made up for with its Speed Dial feature (which other browsers, like Safari and Chrome are starting to copy), the Widgets (I love playing Pandora through its widget, and any of the multiple "get lyrics" widgets), and the ability to save different groups of tabs as sessions.  In the end, Opera suffers most from its relative anonymity (although I think it's used more as a mobile browser than on computers) because it's an excellent browser without the widespread recognition it needs to become the next Firefox.

Safari.  Well, I know it's the default browser for Macs, but I have to admit that between Firefox and Opera, Safari has mostly shown up as a blip on my radar, and "oh, shoot, I need to update Safari to get x other application to work.  That said, Safari 4 is nice.  I don't really use it, but I like the Top Sites feature (though Opera's speed dial still wins in a debate between them, I think) and it does play videos (like on YouTube and Hulu) faster than either Firefox or Opera.

Camino.  I'm kind of eh on this one.  I mean, it's basically Firefox customized for the Mac without the add-ons.  It's fast, it's pretty, but I really use it only when I'm testing my website in different browsers or when my dad wants a screenshot of it to add variety to one of his books.

Shiira.  You know, it's a bit of a hassle to use because pretty much the entire development team is Japanese, which makes their website full of typos, but apart from that, I actually really like Shiira.  It gets better with every release – and real, tangible improvements, like adding tab expose and RSS feed support in the latest version, not just an "oh it runs faster" update.  Shiira is a web browser that I would love a lot more if I had more time to devote to exploring it, but I still highly recommend it.

Chrome.  The new love of my life.  Fast, sleek, pretty, with nice themes, a really cute home page that mimics Opera's Speed Dial while adding in what my recently closed tabs are.  I think I'll be using Chrome a lot more in the future, but I'm still not giving up on Opera :)

Probably the most non-professional reviews of web browsers you've ever read, but it's nice to get a new perspective sometimes, yeah?

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