Tip o’ the Week 369 – Edging forward?


clip_image002There was a time when browser wars raged; different companies felt that if end users ran on their browser, they’d have control over the way the user got access to the web. The browser landscape is radically different today, though.

It’s easy to think that everyone does most of their browsing on mobile devices but that’s not quite the case, yet – though it’s now more common to use a mobile than either a PC or a tablet.

Still, if 45% of all browsing is still being done on a desktop machine, it’s interesting to see the spread of usage – here’s the UK’s desktop browser market share since Windows 10 was released:

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So, it’s pretty clear that Chrome (in green) is the de facto browser. IE (dark blue) has dropped 11% and Edge (light blue) has crawled up to 7.5%, with Safari and Firefox oscillating one or two points up and down but more or less holding station. Expanding the view to worldwide, shows that Firefox is more popular overseas (it’s the most popular browser in Germany, for example). Have a play with the chart above until it shows you some data you like.

InfoWorld published a recent report citing “13 reasons not to use Chrome”, some of which are pretty bogus but others may warrant attention:

  • Malware protection – as the traditional means of infecting computers with malware has changed (from sharing files on floppies or USB sticks), the most likely way of picking up something nasty is through your browser. A recent NSS Labs report showed that Edge was best at blocking phishing attacks, and another on “Socially Engineered Malware” – the kind of sites or pop-ups that dupe a user into installing things they shouldn’t – shows that Edge blocked 99% of them, whereas Chrome managed 86% and Firefox, 78%.
  • JavaScript performance – Chrome isn’t necessarily the best; Edge outperformed it in a couple of benchmarks and was beaten in a couple more, here. Regardless of whether you care about JavaScript or not, you should watch Hanselman’s pitch, if only for the GIFs and side anecdotes.
  • Battery life – Microsoft released a report saying that Edge would improve your Windows laptop’s battery life compared to other browsers. Opera took issue and said they were the best. Paul Thurrott didn’t agree, said he was switching to Edge but apparently has reverted back to Google’s Chrome.
    Mactards may want to use Safari vs Chrome for the same reasons.

Of course, preference plays a big part in why people use any tool versus another. Why not try something different, though? You can always revert back if you try a browser and decide you don’t like it.

Edge is getting better with various releases, with more to come in the next couple of months with the Creators Update. If you fancy trying Edge out as your default, check out WindowsCentral’s excellent guide.

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