One of the greatest mysteries of the digital age is how Internet Explorer has defied the odds and remained as one of the most popular browsers in the world. Offering limited functionality compared to other browsers and even made obsolete by the launch of Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer has endured decades of criticism but remains a valid choice for use by many.

For the last decade Chrome has dominated the market, steadily controlling a majority of the global market, flaunting their simplified ecosystem and speed as distinguishing features, but that is all starting to change.

Other browsers have recently began to push the appeal of their products to the wider market. Microsoft has released Edge, Firefox and Opera have been working on optimizing new tools and features, and Safari have really brought the spotlight on their efficient power usage. Web browsers are currently in their golden age, and we are essentially spoiled by choice.

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NetMarketShare has shown that Internet Explorer has finally been edged out of the top spot by Google Chrome, with all other browsers well behind.

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In data sourced from StatCounter, for the first time, Firefox recently overtook Microsoft’s market share of the global desktop browser market with 15.6%, inching ahead just a mere 0.1%. Chrome meanwhile is shown here to be by far the browser of choice for all platforms with close to 60% of the market.

The difference between the reports can be explained through NetMarketShare accounting for unique users whereas StatCounter is simply counting all visits to web pages. In a straightforward answer- many people are still using Internet Explorer, but are not viewing as many pages as others are in Google Chrome.

We know that some people don’t necessarily have a choice when it comes to picking their preferred browser. They might work in an organisation which forces them to use a specific one to ensure compatibility with other software. Others might just not even care and will go with whatever is the most convenient for them at that time.

Because our company provides software that is supported by a range of browsers with clients using their preferred one, we figured we would give you the best and the worst of the current version of the most popular browsers to date.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft have really outdone themselves when you compare the updated browser to their past attempts. An attractive design layout with fewer buttons, and an ability to integrate with many of the OS’s features and marketplace apps makes it easy to set up and proves that Microsoft may finally be on the right track.

It’s a shame many people today still associate Edge with the dinosaur aged Internet Explorer although maybe they have a few reasons to regard it so. Despite being the latest browser on the block, they have forgotten to develop some of the features that people rely on. The ‘right-click menu’ is undeveloped to where it offers only basic functionalities, and no option to open a page in a incognito window. The ‘Share’ feature also has limited options considering the wide range of apps the browser can integrate with.

Google Chrome

The browser’s startup speed is second to none. By not storing any applications on the device itself, Chrome can be available to use within 3 seconds and has a modern sleek feel to it which offers cross-platform interoperability across any Google-linked site or service. Users can choose from a raft of extensions to provide additional functionality and their first-party integration and convenience of having Android, Gmail, and Google Drive included in their ecosystem is unrivaled.

As is the case with all browsers there is ongoing support and updates to weed out any bugs that are found. Offline support is limited and the browser is famous for hogging memory and battery life, which will eventually slow your browser speed down.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox proved to be a much less demanding browser by using up to 50% less memory than alternatives. The browser also boasts being one of the most customisable in terms of user interface and display, with a few exclusive power-user extensions available from their strong catalogue of extensions.

Despite being a decent alternative as a browser they still lag well below Google Chrome and only recently becoming available iOS has not helped their cause. The browser has also had some issues

Safari

One of the strongest functions of this browser is their ad-free Safari Reader, which allows users to read any article without all of the unnecessary clutter, and uses their comprehensive iCloud services to sync information across your devices while providing a fast and secure experience.

The lack of availability on non iOS platforms can be a frustrating experience for users. A Windows version was briefly available between 2007 and 2012 but has since been discontinued meaning that unless you have a device that uses iOS, using Safari is not possible. Customisation options are also limited compared to competitors as Apple has a trend where they like to think they can provide everything for you.