Is Google Chrome the Future of Internet Browsers?

By: Brett Fuller Last Updated: January 5, 2010

Since the boom of the internet in the 1990's, there have been several internet browsers that have stood out as "the best" for a period of time. There was Netscape Navigator and AOL, then Opera, Internet Explorer, and Firefox. Users have historically gravitated to the best web browser available. Safety, speed, and footprints are (and have been) really the three main components of any successful web browser gaining popularity.

Late in 2008, Google officially launched Google Chrome, and immediately put their hat in the ring for the Next Great Web Browser. They were coming into a tough market where the internet browser war weighed heavily between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Apple’s Safari.

A little under a year later, the Google Chrome browser has surpassed Safari as the 3rd most popular browser on the web. So, what’s so awesome about Chrome?

It’s Faster
The Google Chrome browser is able to display your favorite websites faster than Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. "Our business does well if people are using the Web a lot and are able to use it easily and quickly," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in an article on Webware. They maximized their market share in the search department by making their search speeds faster and plan on continuing this trend in the browser market.

It’s Lighter
Right now, as a veteran Firefox user, I can tell you that Google Chrome uses less memory than my Firefox, which is especially good to know when I am out using my netbook because less memory use can save on battery life. I didn't need a report to tell me that, you can literally feel your other applications lagging as Firefox hogs your system memory. An important side-note to Chrome's lightweight "footprint", however, the lack of memory may be due to the lack of plugins/add-ons that are available for Firefox (we'll touch on that later).

It’s More Secure
There is a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that backs this statement up, but Google Chrome is more secure than Internet Explorer and Firefox.

However, even Google will admit the web browser isn’t perfect. First and foremost, it’s not compatible with every website. Google, Wikipedia, ESPN, CNN- all of the main sites will work with Google Chrome. In fact, mostly every website you will use on a day-to-day basis will look completely normal in Google Chrome. However, websites that requires you to use AJAX (commonly found on What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get (WYSIWYG) editors) generally aren't compatible, or are less compatible with Google Chrome.

Also, and possibly as important, there aren’t as many neat plug-ins and add-ons currently available for Chrome as there are for IE or Firefox. This “defect” is really more of a result of the browser not being around as long as Firefox or Internet Explorer. Plus, while it's market share is gaining, it is tough to imagine application developers going out of their way to develop for 5% of the market. Being a Firefox user, though, I am a fan of the hundreds of plug-ins and add-ons available to users. There is an add-on or plug-in for almost anything- from download helpers to PDF-stream-liners on Firefox and IE, which allow for more customization to make your web browser work best for you.

So maybe my official "switch" to Chrome immediately around the corner, and unless there are some major advances on Firefox in terms of speed, security and the amount of memory used, I may soon be part of that growing 5%. So is Google Chrome may be the future of web browsing? Likely yes, but the future isn't here quite yet.