I’m heading to Ohio later this week to hit the Ohio State Bar Association Legal Tech Conference. While I’m there, one of the things I’ll be speaking on is web browsers. I’ll be covering some tips and tricks to customize your web browser – it’s amazing what a difference just a few well chosen extensions can make to the way you interact with the web. I’ve written previously about that in Technolawyer.
Before you dig into extensions and apps and themes, though, there is another decision to make first: which browser to choose?
The third party browsers, Firefox and Chrome, are both – in my opinion – better options than the ones that come preloaded on computers, whether Safari (Mac) or Internet Explorer (Windows). I’m not alone in that assessment, this chart of browser market share tells the story at a glance:
As the graph shows, Internet Exporer has dramatically lost market share, first to Firefox and more recently to Chrome. Even more recently, Firefox is losing market share to Chrome, too, whose meteoric rise shows no sign of slowing down.
I can see why – there’s a lot to like about Chrome. The extensions and apps available are great, the hooks into Google’s services are slick and the whole thing just works really nicely. It’s what got me to move away from Firfox a couple of years ago.
Now there is another reason to like Chrome: the security. According to an article in Forbes, the security firm Accuvant released a study that assesses the security merits of the top browsers. A lot of the terms involved will make your eyes cross – sandboxing, plugin security, not to mention an alphabet soup of acronyms. Since most lawyers I know are not that interested in the nitty gritty of browser security mechanics (nor, truth be told, am I), I’ll cut to the chase: Accuvant’s study concluded that Google Chrome is the most secure of the browsers.
Unsurprisingly, Firefox’s director of engingeering shot back with some comments affirming Firefox’s commitment to security. And it’s probably worth noting that Google commissioned the study. My overall point here is not to bash Firefox – I still think it is a great browser.
The takeaway is that both Firefox or Chrome are superior choices to Internet Explorer. It’s a closer call with Safari, but in my opinion, the vast array of extensions and plugins with Chrome and Firefox tilt the balance in that race, too.
Just because your machine came preloaded with Internet Explorer does not mean you are stuck with it. Branch out. Try Firefox or Chrome or both. Check out some apps and extensions. Start customizing your browser experience and the web will never look the same.