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Its Raining Browsers.. Which one to use?

css_res_con_browsersIn today’s world with so much of technical advancement we humans face a different sort of problem. Its not the problem of scarcity its the problem of plenty. And when it comes to computers and internet technology the problem is of enormous magnitude. So it is very important to make the right choice! But it is easier said than done. It is very difficult to choose the right one, the difference between the options is sometimes so narrow that it can be a mind boggling task to separate the husk from the wheat. This piece of writing is also going to talk about one such choice which is very difficult to make sometime. But before I move ahead I would like to thank one of my friend who inspired me to write this article. Like many other blogs of mine this is also one where the initial spark was provided by one of my close friend.

So which browser do you prefer? IE or Safari or Firefox or Google Chrome or Opera? Again I decided to limit my scope of discussion to these few browsers as these seems to be the popular among the whole lot of browsers available. Let us start with which one is used most. Although the usage share of IE has significantly come down, but still its dominance is clearly visible. See the graph below to find out the usage share of the various browsers. The graph shows the share for May 2009.

600px-web_browser_usage_sharesvg

It can be seen that the share of IE is almost 66%. So it still leads the pack. Before going into a comparison of these five browser let me give you some other basic details about these five.

Some General Information: The following table gives some basic information about the five browser that we have chosen. The information source is our very own internet.

generalinfo1

Release History: Let us look into briefly as to when all these browsers came into existence. The following table gives the detail of the same.

releasehistory

Operating System Support: I think another important factor that we need to consider is the operating system support for each browser. Check out the table below to figure it out.

oscompatibility

Now let us do some comparison of the various browsers in terms of basic features of the browser. Check out the following table for the features that are present in the browsers.

features

For information regarding things like the accessibility features of the browsers you can click here.

The above link gives quite extensive comparison of the browsers. It can be used as a guide for figuring out which browser to opt for. Let us now look into some other aspects which are not available in the above mentioned link. Secondary research (Suave way of saying surfing) I found out the following tests that gives a holistic point of view of the performance of the browsers that we are discussing. So, let us look into it one by one.

Cold Start Test: In this test the time was measured from the time the program was run to the time the browser was ready for use. The results were as: coldstart

The points are given based on the rank among the five browsers. Chrome with the slowest time gets the highest point that is 5.

Warm Start Test: Warm start is the test when I run browser then turn it off and then start it again without turning or logging out from windows. Chrome again showed exceptional performance and it was actually difficult (as mentioned by the testers) to record time for Chrome. See the results in the adjacent figure.

warmstart

Acid 2 Test: The Acid 2 test is a standard test for web browsers. The main features of the test are:acid2

* Final rendering looks exactly like the rendering provided by the Acid tests website.
* Smiley’s nose turns blue when hovered over.
In this test all the browsers except IE passed easily. See the results in the adjacent figure.

Acid 3 Test: It is a more stringent test than the Acid test 2. And the results depicts the same. None of the browsers passed the test. Opera topped the test. The Acid 3 test have the following features:

* Final score of 100/100.
* No error messages on final rendering.
* Render-in-progress loads smoothly (no pausing).
* Final rendering looks exactly like the rendering provided by the Acid tests website.

The results of the test are as follows.

acid-3

Javascript Speed: The javascript speed test was conducted thrice and the average speed was recorded for each browser. The results of the test showed that Chrome was again a winner in this case and Safari came second. See the results below:

javascripttest

Memory Usage: In each of the browser a single tab was opened and then www.google.com was opened in that tab. The memory usage was checked with the help of Chrome memory usage option. IE7 walked away with the trophy in this case. That may be due to its shared resources. Safari was a distant last ( I am very upset about it, I am sure it performs much better in a Mac). The results are given here in the adjacent figure.

memory

Options: As we talked earlier also about the features, this is one thing that users are fond off. The various features of the browser. Firefox leads the march with it’s extensions. However without that it has to be said that Firefox is quite a boring browser. Chrome for the first time takes the last position. See the results in the following figure.

options

So overall if we see from the various tests and features it seems Chrome is the best performing browser. It is the fastest and it leaves Opera in the second place. Here goes the final standing for the browsers:

overall

Given all this people would still prefer to go with their personal choice and also there is lot of inertia when it comes to switching browsers. So although Chrome looks like a leader it has a long way to go in terms of capturing the usage share from IE and Firefox. We will wait and watch. Who knows tomorrow someone with smarter looks and swifter moves comes and sweeps everyone off their feet to become the leader.

PS: The tests mentioned were conducted in Athlon 3800 64bit, Gigabyte M55S-S3 mainboard and 2 gb DDR2 ram and Windows XP with SP2. For details click here.

Related reading : What is missing in Google Chrome.

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9 Responses

  1. Well another crisp article.. i think google chrome usage is catching up very fast.. in no time even i have moved from internet explorer to google chrome.. :)

  2. Actualy you can have privacy surfing in Opera very easy.

    After every use, just go to delete private data and check all.

    After that every trace of using, cookies and address will be deleted.

  3. Very informative article…………. the quantitative and tabular representation is really very helpful……………..The way you have covered all the aspects of different web browsers in really nice……..
    Need more such informations from your gallery..

  4. Awesome comparisons. Really gives a new insights before choosing a browser.

    The result given are very objective. But yes it depends upon own choices and comfort.

    A good informative piece of writing. I am reading this in chrome and I can’t see 2 images after refreshing it for couple of times. May be some problem in speed of connections.

    Said right by author chrome has to get a long way in terms of market share and mind share before it becomes the king of browser…

    Keep writing…

  5. Good comparison. You might want to test the same on a Mac OS :)

    Safari on Windows is a pain. But on Mac it works awesome!! Am a fan of both Safari and Google Chrome. Mozilla provides links to some great tools though.
    check out tools.mozilla.com. IE is a thing of the past.