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Description: Browsers remain one of the Internet’s most crucial functions, Gavin says. They are the windows to the Internet, conduits to what users really want to see — be it a social network, application, video or document.
Source: USA Today.com

Date: Dec 2, 2010

The browser has become the primary way we all keep up with our friends,” says Eric Vishria, CEO of RockMelt, which centers its searches on social-media gathering places such as FacebookTwitter and Google. The product, which hopes to attract 1 million users within six months, was built with Chromium, the open-source browser project that underlies Chrome.

“It has become the primary way to consume news and information,” Vishria says. “And it has become the primary way to search for everything.”

Consumers are willing to switch to the latest and greatest browser if their current one doesn’t measure up: Some 500 million people have switched browsers the past three years, based on data from W3C Counter andInternational Telecommunications Union.

Many people use multiple browsers not only for optimum online performance but out of necessity. Several financial institutions don’t work well with Chrome or Firefox, forcing their online banking customers to use older, less secure versions of IE.

“Without a doubt, there is more choice than any time in history — and that’s great for consumers and developers,” says Ryan Gavin, who heads IE’s business.

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Questions for discussion:

  • Which browser do you use? Why?
  • Will mobile computing continue to fragment the browser market? Why
  • Should organizations dictate to employees which browser they use in the marketplace? Why?

30 Responses to “Heat is on IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome as browser habits shift”

  1. Esmarilin

    I think that in the work settings, if the company believes one browser provides more benefits over the others, which will help them in their business then perhaps they do have somewhat of a right to explain to their employees why the want such a browser implemented and also discuss the benefits it will provide. If it does have any differences in comparison to the other browsers and is merely a the choice of the company, then perhaps they should allow employees to use which ever browser they wish. As discussed in the article though, there are currently several different browsers which are constantly updating, and competiting head to head with one another, so most likely organizations should be able to implement which ever browser is most beneficial for them.

  2. Crystal

    Until I read this article I had no idea there were so many browsers. I could only name three, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari. On my lap top I mainly use Internet Explorer, although sometimes I switch to Firefox for a change. And on my I phone I know Safari is the default browser. I honestly don’t really know the difference between all the different browsers. I find IE really easy to use, and that’s why I use it. But that is probably because it’s the only one I have ever used on a regular basis. I think it is good to have so many options as a consumer. And most of these companies seem to be doing quite well off. I think its personal preference for whatever one you use. I do however think that organizations should state which browser to use in the market place just so all the employees are familiar with the same system and everyone is on the same page. Organizations should operate as one and using the same browser is included in that.

  3. Mark Molendyk

    Personally, i have used IE and Firefox. Most of the time I use IE because it is the default browser on my laptop and I am very comfortable using this browser. I tried firefox and i was not a big fan of it. I guess I was so used to IE that firefox was just not as user friendly to me. I recently tried out Chrome and I liked it at first but decided to switch back to IE because i was used to it. As a consumer, we like the idea of variety. People want to be able to try so many different things and we want what works best for us.

    Organizations should only use one type of borwser in the work place to avoid confusion among the employees. This will help the organization run more smoothly.

  4. Ryan Harty

    Personally I use Internet Explorer, I used firefox on my previous lap top but switched when I got my new one because it was the default browser. I didnt really find to much of a difference between the two so I have kept on using Internet Explorer. It is very user friendly and I would recommend it to everyone.

    I believe that a company should use the same browser just to keep everything running the same in the business.

  5. Brett

    I personally am a safari user. I am not a very technology adapt person and to be honest it was the browser which was loaded onto my mac so I continue to use it. I have had no issues and no real reason to make a switch to firefox. However, while on campus I do use both Firefox and Internet Explorer (depending on which one is freezing less).

    I think that a company as the right to implement a one browser policy. By keeping all employees on a similar page it will allow for easier training practices to be implemented as well as more sound transfers of files etc. In theory it will allow the company to run with more synergy.

  6. Paul Quick

    The browser that I currently use is Firefox. For a very long time I only used Internet Explorer, but when I arrived at University, my friends in the New Media program sat me down and explained to me why I should not be using Internet Explorer. My friends then explained to me how Firefox is open source, and that it is run by a not-for-profit organization. I have used Firefox ever since that day, and have not had a single problem.

    I believe that for company work, the browser choice should be dictated by the organization. This should be done as a precaution, to avoid compatibility issues. The article mentioned problems with certain browsers and online banking; this is just one example of a potential problem that could arise from using different browsers. To avoid problems, the company should specify which browser best fits their needs.

  7. Kelly L

    Before reading this article, I thought that there were only 3 web browsers, which are Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari (for Mac). I mainly use Safari on both my Mac and iPhone. In my opinion, they are all basically the same, each used to browse the web. I don’t really see a difference at all when using each of the 3 different web browsers. Seeing as IE owns 59% of the global market for browsers, I would definitely like to check it out to see if there is a real difference from the other browsers. However, I think it is crazy that people would need to use 3 or more different browsers at one time for different needs when they are all virtually the same.

  8. Craig Hulsman

    i personally use 3 different browsers, internet explorer, safari and firefox. I use them all for different things like safari i only use when im on my mac and iphone. I use firefox solely to use stumble upon ( if you haven’t check it out id give it a peep). Internet explorer is still clearly the most popular web browser, its found on so many different hardwares and i still find it the easiest to use. I heard that firefox is the fastest but haven’t used it enough to be-able to tell, the majority of my browser use is safari and i have no reason to change its treated me well until now. my next move is to give chrome a shot, google seems to succeed in everything else they release so im sure that chrome is just as fast and advanced.

  9. Seth E

    It is all fine and dandy that the browsers compete to the degree that the consumer benefits. But I think that each browser developer is missing a huge step that would make life much easier for web developers. HTML is supposed to be a set of standards to ensure that web pages display properly. Then why is it that when a developer is designing a web page, in some instances they have to use different HTML code for each browser so that the page will display properly in all browsers? If it ever gets to the point where all browsers are following the same guidelines for displaying HTML, that will be a day that will make a lot of people happy!!

  10. Mary Elizabeth Telfer

    I like using firfox because I can use it on both my PC and Mac. I think that it is a great browser, but I have also used Chrome and Safari. I use safari on my iPhone, but I don’t like using on my PC because mainly because it looks almost too simple. I enjoy firefox for its tabs and the ability to customize my tool bar above my internet viewing space. Also I find that updates to firefox do not disturb my internet viewing time, they are both quick and dont change things too much so that I cant find what I really need when I need it. Unlike Microsoft which you have to download a whole new browser, which sometimes doesnt uninstall the previous version and then you get a bunch of errors and such. Basically I stick with firefox for its ease of use and customization aspects, and if I can I avoid IE at all costs!

  11. Dustin Moore

    In the past I had used nothing but the Internet explorer, this was a great browser for me as it fulfilled all my needs for dealing with anything on my computer. I am not good with computers so it was a very easy one to use and not having four different browsers was nice. Recently I have updated to a mac and an Iphone. I found that moving out of my comfort range from internet explorer was a very good thing for me. Safari has been an awesome browser for me and I continue to learn more things from it everyday. I am glad that I made this update and have learned from it that it is important to venture out of your comfort zone to experience things that could be better and easier to use.

  12. Alex Dechant

    Growing up all i have ever used as a browser is internet explorer. It was all that was ever available and all i ever knew u in till recently. Now i have switched to Apple and their safari browser. I find there isn’t much difference in the two browsers and they allow me to switch between the two almost without noticing. I am glad there is more competition now between the browsers. I believe this will only lead to improvements in the technology and design of these browsers with the increase of technology. I can only see more browsers in the future allowing us to have a variance in how we use the internet.

  13. S Hilman

    I use several browsers. At work and school I use Internet Explorer. The only feature I like about the IE browser is tabs, but I can do that in Firefox and Safari. As I have a Mac, I prefer to use Safari. The home page is less of a home page as it is a map. Safari provides me with a picture of my favourite web pages and I just click on one to go there, rather than typing in an address or creating a bookmark. I can have as few or many choices as I chose and I can chose to always see my preferences or to see a picture for each web page in my history. (The picture is of the website itself.) Furthermore, I can also have a bookmarks bar of pages I go to often and don’t want to use my mouse to get to. I only need to hit two buttons and I’m taken to my bookmark. I quickly became used to Safari but eventually had to download Firefox because some applications (like WebCT) did not perform well in Safari or my popup blocker would block them. In Firefox these applications work and I can still use a popup blocker. Overall I prefer Safari because of the short cut keys I can use on my Mac. The only thing I occasionally miss in Safari that IE offers is a stop button, but that is rare.

  14. Sunny P.

    I personally have Safari, Chrome and Firefox however the ones i use most is Safari and Chrome. I believe that all of these browsers are good at its different level. Google has done a spectacular job at Chrome and Safari by apple is working similar to their computer standards which is really good. I think that Work places should not be too worried about which browser an employee would use because its the employee getting the work done and everyone has a more comfortable feeling when they know the product or service. Further, I think that if these browsers want to stay up with the market and be the chosen one for most users they should always have key objects that protect computer users and make them feel comfortable using the browser they like.

  15. Laura

    I personally use IE and Safari because those are the default browsers on the computers I use on a regular basis. To me, they are very similar and I don’t have a preference over which I use. Both browsers fulfill my needs when using the internet. I believe competition between the different browsers is good for the computer savvy generation. It will create better options and customization features, allowing consumers to have a definite preference among the different browsers offered. Also,I believe for company work, the browser should be decided upon by the company. Using your work computer is for work use, not personal use so the company should have greater power when deciding which browser to use on its machines.

  16. Trevor

    Personally, my browser of choice is Internet Explorer. I have growns so comfortable using it, having grown up using it. Whether at school or home, Internet Explorer has always been my go-to browser. I have used different browsers from time-to-time, one friends’ computers and in other situations, but it just has not been as good as Internet Explorer. I think that browser preference boils down to comfortability.

    As for companies dictating what browser their employees should use, I am stuck on the fence. There are two sides to this question, because like I said, individuals will have their own browser preferences because of comfortability. At the same time, it is also important for companies to promote uniformity throughout the company.

  17. coco dong

    I use a browser named “sogou brower”.It’s a popular browser in china. The reason I used it contians multiple fuctions. The speed of open a website is fast compare to IE browser. It allows me to open multiple tags on one webpage and it could keep the speed fast. It could block the virus and safety to surfing on the internet. I was used to use IE browswer, but it don’t like boring staff. sogou brower allow me chang the webpage style as I wish and it’s more personalized for customer.

  18. Brittany H

    I use Firefox as my browser. I find that it is easier to use and that it is fast to use. I used to use internet explorer but it does not work as well for me so I switched to Firefox. Those are the only two browsers that I have ever used. I do not think that organizations should dictate which browser that employees use in the marketplace. I think that employees should be able to choose which browser they like best. That way they may be more familiar with it and be more productive. If you tell an employee which browser to use and they have never used it before, it may be challenging to them and make them less productive and more annoyed when they can not do something they want to do.

  19. Lauren Kingston

    I am shocked to learn that there are so many different web browsers. I have always used Microsoft’s Internet Explorer while being aware of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. I didn’t know there were even good reasons to use different browsers, I assumed they were all the same. After reading this article I am curious and am going to look into a few of the other browsers. I believe that mobile computing will continue to take away market share because it is so much more convenient. I find that I use the browser on my blackberry everyday, I can’t say the same about using my desktop computer. I don’t agree with companies dictating which type of browser their employees should use because the only difference I see between them is personal preference.

  20. Nianze

    I have been using IE for years. I was trying to switch to Google Chrome when it was introduced. However, it didn’t work for me. For instance, I couldn’t open the CRA with I was filing ROE for an employee. Then, I had a problem to open up the My Accounting Lab with Google Chrome. To me, I haven’t done any comparison about which browser is the best to use.
    Like many people agreed with this, I do agree that an organization should use the same browser throughout the organization just so to ensure that everyone are running on the same track. That way, it is easier for IS department to detect if there is any technical errors occur.

  21. Greg

    I used IE almost exclusively until about 4 months ago. 4 months ago I downloaded Google Chrome and now use it exclusively on my desktop. I do also use Safari on my Ipod Touch. I became frustrated and impatient with IE and lots of people had suggested Google Chrome to me. I also appreciate Google’s continuous improvements and development of new products. I’ve also recently started to use Google Docs. I find Microsoft lacking in customer satisfaction and unable to make reliable products and or don’t do enough testing prior to releasing ie Windows Vista. I think if people had the choice, they probably wouldn’t use so many different browsers, I think the multiple browser use is a result of not having a say or choice in which browser to use. Work place policies, built in options -Iphone with Safari….etc.

    The one great thing about multiple browsers is that greater competition generally leads to greater customer satisfaction because of increased options/differentiation and intense competition.

  22. Judy E

    I was totally unaware of all the new and upcoming web browsers that are listed in the article. I used to use Internet Explorer as my web browser for a long time. I was than introduced to Firefox and switched immediately because I found it to be a lot quicker and easier to use. I have yet to try Google Chrome but I’ve heard only good things about it.
    I think businesses should stick to one browser because of the simplicity for their employees. However, if the business feels that it benefits them to have more than one, they have the right to do so. The company needs to ensure that their employees have a thorough understanding of the multiple browsers to minimize confusion and frustration.

  23. Kelsey Kasner

    Personally, I have always just used Internet Explorer or Firefox, however just recently I have started using safari. I think that there are positives to either picking the default browser at a company, as well as letting the employees choose. By selecting the type of browser that you want everyone in the company to operate using is a good idea because it would avoid complications with other browsers. This way companies can pick the one that they think suits their companies needs and benefits them the most. However there is positives to employees choice as well. I think that each individual has a preference of which browser they want to use, so I think that restricting employees to one browser at work wouldn’t be very beneficial. Although most browsers are very similar, people become familiar with the browser of their liking. To make employees switch to the one that the company has picked out may lead to time spent learning and unnecessary complaints from employees.

  24. Colin Smylie

    I used to be a big user of Internet Explorer, but that was mostly due to ignorance. I didn’t know that there were better options even out there until I was flat out asked by a friend why I was still using what they considered to be the inferior product. Since switching to Fire fox I have not been prompted to send an error report of any kind; mostly because my browser does not just shut itself down at random times. Albeit I still have Safari on my i-pod and goggle Chrome on my work computer but that is mostly because I have adopted the opinion of “if it aint broke don’t fix it” and these web browsers have not given me the incentive to change them or change others to them.

  25. Mahreen

    Personally, since i own a mac so, therefore i am so used to using safari. I enjoy using safari and i don’t really see a point in switching to firefox but i do use it at school. However i find that it’s really slow and often freezes. I’ve used several different browsers but since i’m so used to safari, i prefer it over the different ones.
    As far as companies are concerned, i think it depends on the organization and if it suits them then sure they should use three four or how many browsers they wish for simplicity sakes, I’d say one browser should be the main focus, just so there are no complexities.

  26. Kara H

    I have used Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox. I personally do not really notice much of a difference between the three, but I still use all of them for different computers I have. It does not surprise me that Google has invented a web browser as Google is a powerful company that is trying to stay with the trends. I think that each company is going to use the product that works best for them. As powerful companies, like Google, create new product or browsers, they are going to ultimately take some of the market share as they will already have loyalty from customers who use their search engine. I do believe however that companies need to pick one brower and stick with it. This saves employees from trying to learn something new and therefore decreases the stress that employees deal with.

  27. evan

    As a cliche mac user, I also predominately use safari. I have never had any problems with it. The new features such Top sites, which displays your recently favorite sites in a new tab, is a big hit with me. To me to main reason I use Safari is because the lack of clutter within the browser. This could just be me but whenever I see IE browsers there are always “Google Tool Bars” and ten other different tool bars that make the browser way more complicated, when I all need is a address bar and a forward and backwards button. I’ve had some friends show me Google Chromo and other browsers, with some cool features like combining the address bar with the google search engine. But just like the Montreal Canadiens Coach I am reluctant to change what I’m doing while I’m in a winning situation (Safari).

  28. Jake Robinson

    As far as Internet browsers go, I find Safari to be the most reliable. I also feel more comfortable with this interface, as opposed to other browsers. However, like the article suggests, not all websites work with one universal browser; therefore, I also have Firefox and chrome as backups. For example, I am an avid soccer fan, and there are times when our cable provider does not broadcast a live game that I need to watch. Yes, need to. Therefore I am forced to stream it over the Internet. The sites that I use to stream these sporting events require a plug in that Safari does not support. Thus, I have to use Firefox. I think that the trend of emerging new browsers will continue because there is always room for improvement, and different people have different needs to fill.

  29. marlo mcadam

    I always use Google as my go to search engine. I actually seem to be a bit biased towards people that use others such as Bing or Yahoo. I reason I use Google, is because they offer everything in one place. Not only is it just a search engine but websites, images and videos, but as they continue to develop their applications they have added tools such as scholar, map and my very favorite Google Earth.
    Although I use Google, many people are moving to Facebook to not only connect with friends and family as a social platform but you can also search on Facebook, just as you work on any other search engine. In class I believe, one of the groups talked about how more individuals go on Facebook than those that go on Google. This seems crazy but who knows, maybe some day Facebook will be my go to site as well.

  30. Jatinder Aulakh

    I always use safari for web browsing, I think its very fast and very easy to use. Especially if you love apple than safari is the best choice. I think mobile computing will continue to fragment the browser market. Smart phones have become so popular and people browse more on their phones now. Its much easier for people to get access almost anywhere and anytime when you got your phone.

    I think organizations should not dictate to employees on which browser they use in the market place. This is because, every person uses different web browsing and finds one browser easier to use than the other. Therefore allowing employees to use whatever browser they want is easier for them to get their work done at work.

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