A web browser is a software application that is used to access information on the Internet. In the past decade, web browsers have evolved tremendously to give users tools that facilitate the efficient retrieval of information. The most commonly used browsers include Opera, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Internet Explorer. Many people have disappointing browsing experiences because they stick to the browsers they used when they were first introduced to the Internet. These browsers are constantly improved and update to improve their speed, security, and flexibility. This paper will compare and contrast three web browsers namely Google Chrome, Opera, and Mozilla Firefox. This goal will be achieved by exploring their general features, security features and market share.
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Google Chrome (Version 59.0.3071.860)
According to many technology enthusiasts and critics, Chrome is the most efficient browser based on its features and market share. Some of the general features of Chrome that differentiates it from Firefox and Opera include a minimalist design and high-speed browsing (Dassanayake par. 2). It gives users the opportunity to create application shortcuts for the websites that they frequently visit. This feature is also available on the Firefox browser.
Chrome also allows users to synchronize bookmarks across browsers on different computers using a single Google account (Dassanayake par. 4). This feature is helpful to people who work by switching between different computers or gadgets. Like Opera, Chrome has a task manager that allows users to retrieve information regarding a specific process running in the browser. The task manager displays information such as the amount of memory used by a specific website and the performance of plug-ins and extensions.
Finally, Chrome includes a “Pin Tab” feature that allows users to open multiple tabs and pin those that they need to access quite often. Other general features include availability of a variety of extensions, high stability, and the ability to customize it because it is an open-source software application (Dassanayake par. 5).
Google Chrome has several built-in security features that include sandboxing functions, privilege restrictions, and phishing-and malware-protection schemes (Dassanayake par. 6). Phishing and malware protection warns a user whenever they visit a website that Google considers malicious. Unlike Firefox that has a Master password feature that allows users to encrypt saved passwords, Chrome allows users to access the passwords saved on a browser.
In that regard, Firefox has better information security features that Chrome. On the other hand, Opera has a strong security feature that blocks other users from viewing the passwords saved on a browser easily. Unlike Firefox and Opera, Chrome allows users to synchronize settings and saved data across multiple devices. This feature makes browsing more efficient even though it makes sensitive information vulnerable to breaches.
The approximate share for Chrome is 60% of the global browser usage. This percentage is projected to increase as Google improves the browser and makes it more secure.
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Mozilla Firefox (Version 53.0.3)
Firefox was the browser of choice for many internet users before the advent of Chrome. Unlike Chrome and Opera, it has a simple interface design. General features include private browsing, site bookmarking, toolbar customization, and add-ons (“Firefox Features” par. 2). It is similar to Chrome because it allows users to synchronize their bookmarks, passwords, and history and access them from multiple devices. Unlike Chrome and Opera that lack a tab management feature, Firefox offers users a built-in feature that allows them to cluster tabs into groups. This feature is helpful to users who open multiple tabs simultaneously. While Chrome has a ‘Pin Tab’ feature, Firefox has a ‘Tab Group” feature.
Firefox has several security features that include pop-up blocker, anti-phishing and anti-malware warnings, private browsing, mixed content blocking, the Site Identity Button, and customized security settings (“Firefox Features” par. 2). Private browsing allows users to browse the web undercover. Information about the sites they visit is not saved and therefore, their online activities cannot be tracked (“Firefox Features” par. 4).
The Site Identity Button is a feature that provides information about accessed websites to avoid fraud and security breaches. Firefox is more secure than IE but less secure than Chrome. Unlike Chrome, Firefox does not use a sandbox to enhance its security. Firefox contains phishing and malware protection features that warn users when they access a website that has been flagged as a source of unwanted software applications (“Firefox Features” par. 5). The feature also warns users in case they download malicious applications. This Firefox feature enhances its security because lists of malicious websites are downloaded and updated every 30 minutes.
According to StatCounter, Mozilla controls approximately 15.6 percent of desktop browser usage. This percentage is very small when compared to Google’s two thirds market share.
The general features of Opera include page zooming, download manager, speed dial, extensions, password manager, battery saver, free VPN, tab cycling, customizable shortcuts, image loading setting, pop-up blocking, Opera Turbo, and standards support (“Explore the Features of the Opera Browser” par1). It is similar to Chrome and Firefox because it has task manager, search engines, extensions, private browsing, and tabbed browsing.
Despite these similarities, it is very different from the other browsers. Examples of features that are only found on Opera include instant back, page zoom, rewind, fit to window width, crash recovery, and reload after every 30 seconds. Critics have described Opera as the most innovative browser because of the aforementioned features that are absent in other browsers.
The security features of opera include fraud and malware protection, extended validation, and frequent updates. Extended Validation (EV) certificates enhance the security of websites by validating the reliability of businesses owning the certificates (“Explore the Features of the Opera Browser” par3). Opera has stringent procedures for EV validation that makes it a very safe browser. The fraud and malware feature warns users when they access suspicious websites.
This feature is also found in Firefox and Chrome. Opera also provides regular software updates for the browser and installed applications and plug-ins (“Explore the Features of the Opera Browser” par1). Opera mini is the only browser that has reliable security and privacy features. The privacy policies of Opera are similar to those of Firefox and therefore, they are effective.
Currently, opera controls approximately 8% of the global browser usage market. This percentage has stagnated for a long time due to the stiff competition from Chrome and Firefox.
It can be deduced form the foregoing discussion that Google Chrome is the nest browser, followed by Mozilla Firefox, and finally Opera. This is evident from their respective market shares. Security is the most critical aspect of internet browsing. Therefore, providing more effective security features makes a browser more endearing to web users. Chrome is the most secure browser while Firefox is the most private. Opera is famous for both security and privacy features.
Dassanayake, Dion. “Goggle Chrome Browser Update-these Popular Features Could Soon be Removed.” SUNDAY EXPRESS. 2017. Web.
“Explore the Features of the Opera Browser.” Opera. Web.
“Firefox Features.” Mozilla Firefox. Web.