Browsers Don't Matter, Even Chrome 3

Google's newest release of its Chrome browser fairly begs the question: Who cares about browsers anymore? Not specifically Chrome, but any browser.

Chrome sports some new features and is supposed to be faster, as our First Look details, but who really cares besides the browser-obsessed?

I am not trying to pick on Chrome, which is a nice browser that helps keep Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, et al, on their toes. But, it's expected that before too long any cool feature that appears in one will show up in the others.

Some people make a great deal over supposed browser speed. I must tell you, candidly, that I don't see the difference between the major browsers, all of which I use. Maybe in the lab the difference matters, but on my desktop and--more importantly--in my perception, browser speed isn't a big deal.

Yes, each of the major browsers has a "personality," if you will, and is thus more or less appealing to specific individuals or groups, but that's about it.

If you were randomly assigned Firefox, IE, Safari, or maybe even Chrome (which I am still a tad leery of) you would be well served. All are fine browsers and I often find myself looking to see which browser I am working in, just to make sure.

The only feature I've found that makes me like one much more than the others is IE's ability to open a collection of start pages, each in their own tabs, instead of a single home page. It's easy to do in IE--you just enter all the pages in the field where you select a home page--but I've missed the feature in Safari and Firefox, if it exists there.

That may sound pretty minor as reasons to select software go, but it speaks to my point that all "big four" browsers are pretty good today. And will be better tomorrow.

(UPDATE: I screwed up! Readers have noted that, indeed, there is a feature in Firefox that allows multiple tabs to open on start-up. I'd looked and missed it. It wasn't obvious to me, I didn't care too much, and I moved on, never expecting to write about it. My point was supposed to be that this is a pretty minor feature to separate one browser from another but it was lost in the error of not finding the feature, which I regret.)

As for the specifics of Chrome 3, Google has improved the look-and-feel of the homepage to make it more customizable, added themes, and improved the Omnibox by adding icons to show what it is suggesting--suggested site, search result, or bookmark--for the term you enter.

Of course, it is supposed to be faster and HTML support is improved. This new Chrome 3 is supposed to be a stable release, but since betas have been available, these features may not be new to you.

So Chrome 3 is claimed to be faster and better, but like all browsers today, it would impossible to make it cheaper. Yes, it is good being a browser "customer" with everyone competing so hard just to give me something for free.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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