Last updated on January 31st, 2021. Posted in Web Design For Online Business.
No doubt Google Chrome is the most popular and widely used web browser. However, if you're becoming concerned about protecting your privacy online, If you're starting to pay attention to how much your web browser is tracking you and if you're looking to move away from the creepy, prying eyes of Big Tech, then you're certainly in the right spot!
Here are links and resources mentioned in today's video. Enjoy!
For instance, we know Big Tech corporations like Google, Facebook and others are tracking our behaviour online...we know Google Chrome is reporting back to Google HQ with our data in hand...which they then use to serve up personalized ads to us.
I don't know about you, but to me, 1) That's creepy as hell!, and 2) I hate, absolutely HATE advertising. I could go on a whole rant about how stupid advertising is...but I'll save that for another video.
In the meantime, it's important to know how to protect yourself and your data online...for that security and peace of mind as you surf the web...
...or who knows, maybe you're using public wifi and you want to keep yourself secure as you surf. Or maybe your motivations started out more like mine -- years ago I was finding that Chrome was running like an absolute hog on my computer...using up way too much memory even for basic web surfing.
Whatever your reason to ditch Chrome and start looking into other alternatives, the good news is that you and I have plenty of options to choose from...many that are built using the same Chromium technology that Google Chrome's built with.
What this means is that these alternative browsers will be familiar to you and in many cases they'll be able to handle the same browser extensions that are available for Chrome, too.
So what we'll do here is we'll look at three top alternatives to Google Chrome -- and no, my suggestions won't be run of the mill browsers like Safari or Edge.
Instead, I want to recommend alternative web browsers that are all about privacy, security, speed, and keeping you safe online. And towards the end, I'll throw a handful of additional honourable mentions your way, too.
All this said, if you're doing any kind of web design, definitely keep Google Chrome installed on your computer for testing purposes...because remember, Chrome is the most popular browser so that's likely what the majority of your visitors will be using.
Okay, let's jump into it -- The first alternative browser we'll look at is one you probably haven't heard of -- Vivaldi. Officially launched in 2016, Vivaldi is a relatively new web browser from the people behind the Opera web browser project.
Vivaldi is built on the open source Chromium project, which again is the same technology that Google Chrome is based on -- so Vivaldi's look and feel will be familiar to you.
Vivaldi has all the standard stuff you'd expect to find in a modern browser -- multiple browser tabs, history, bookmarks, private tabs...and so on.
That said, Vivaldi does offer quite a lot more. For example, you can save tabs in saved sessions, there are built in quick commands, there's a really cool feature called Web Panels which allow you to run websites in narrow panels along the side of your browser window for fast access...which is great for things like social media feeds, news feeds, and so on.
Vivaldi also has a "Reader View" mode, which removes all the clutter from a page and makes it clean and easy to read -- great for reading articles online.
There's also built in web development tools which are great, and Vivaldi is also highly customizable so you can get it running just right.
As far as security and privacy are concerned, Vivaldi doesn't collect any data while you're browsing, and you can also block ads too...although you'll have to turn this feature on.
Vivaldi is a lean, powerful, clean, and intuitive modern web browser that's packed with lots of features and customizations.
Vivaldi is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android devices. If you'd like to give it a try, I'll leave a link to Vivaldi in the Show Notes below.
Next up we have my current web browser of choice, Firefox -- no doubt you've heard of Firefox...it's been around since 2004!
Now unlike the other two browsers we're also looking at here, Firefox uses what's called the Gecko layout engine to render web pages -- this is just the technology that the browser is based on.
As far as features go, you can expect all the standard stuff in Firefox: Bookmarks, history, tabbed browsing, private browser windows, and so on.
Firefox also has built-in web developer tools and a reading mode -- we also saw this in Vivaldi -- which is a mode that allows you to essentially declutter a web page or article that you're trying to read. I'll tell you, I use this A LOT in FireFox!
Another nice thing about Firefox is that, unlike Chrome, it doesn't seem to get too bogged down with a large number of open browser tabs -- Firefox isn't a memory pig like Chrome.
So if you're like me and you have loads of browser tabs open at any given time, your computer won't cease up and grind to a halt.
Another cool feature I use in Firefox is it's synching feature. This means that I can synch my bookmarks between computers -- like my iMac and my MacBook, and I can even send tabs to different computers if I like. Pretty cool!
Alright, here's something else that's definitely worth mentioning: There's a huge library of extensions and add-ons that are available for Firefox. This means that there's a lot of options available to you in terms of customization and setting up your browser just as you'd like.
As for security, Firefox offers much more in the way of privacy and what data you share online. So FireFox isn't collecting data while you surf.
So if speed, security, and customization is what you're after, then Firefox is a great choice.
Firefox is available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices. Again, I'll leave a link for you down below in the Show Notes.
Okay, the third and final Chrome alternative you and I will look at is a browser called Brave -- you may have heard of it, it's gaining popularity.
After Firefox, Brave is my next top personal choice. Launched in 2016 by the co-founders of the Mozilla project (the makers of Firefox), Brave has a clean, intuitive and modern browser interface.
Like Vivaldi, Brave is built using Chromium, and includes all the standard features you'd expect -- multiple browser tabs, history, bookmarks, and so on.
Brave also has a few additional features like built-in web developer tools and a "reader mode" -- again for decluttering web pages to make for easy reading.
But here's where things get really interesting with Brave: By default, Brave blocks online ads and web tracking.
Not only does this make Brave much more secure for you...but it also means that Brave runs much, much faster than, say, Google Chrome.
In fact, many web pages load in a near instant in Brave, which is insane! So if it's privacy, security, and blocking annoying online ads, then Brave'll do it all for you right out of the box.
Now, the objection to blocking online ads is, how are websites that rely on ad revenue supposed to support themselves?
Well Brave came up with a way for users to send cryptocurrency contributions to websites they frequent. Kind of a neat idea, but I wonder how effective this solution is.
Further, Brave also has something called Brave Rewards which allows you to earn crytpo tokens as you browse the web...but honestly, I turned these features off.
I don't know, it isn't clear to understand...and I don't want crypto in my web browser or whatever, and I just wanna surf the web -- I'm not really interested in earning crypto through my web surfing!
So at least for myself, I'm blocking ads in Brave and not bothering with crypto tokens or anything.
Now there's one other aspect of Brave related to security and privacy that I've gotta mention to you -- and that is, the ability to browse with Tor.
Now likely, you have no idea what I'm talking about here. Let me explain...
TOR stands for The Onion Router -- and when using Tor in Brave, what happens is, all your data is encrypted online as it travels through layers and layers of networking.
This masks your identity from your ISP and everyone else online. That's why it's called The Onion.
Now the trade-off here is speed. All this routing and re-routing slows down your browsing experience. You may find that websites don't load properly, in fact. However using Tor means that you're much more protected online.
So should you use Tor in Brave? Not for everyday use, no. For regular use, Brave is just fine as-is. It's gonna be much more secure and private versus Google Chrome or other mainstream web browsers on their best day.
But let's say you're using public wifi and want to keep your surfing data secure. That could be a scenario where you'd use Brave's built-in TOR feature...trading off some speed for much better security.
So I hope all that makes sense. To summarize, using Brave means much more security than Chrome or other mainstream browsers like Safari or Edge.
Brave + Tor means even more security at the cost of giving up some speed. And if you really wanted to be as secure as possible online, you could go with Brave + Tor + VPN (Virtual Private Network)...which delves into a whole other area of online security.
In fact, if you're interested in learning what a VPN is, I put together a short video that explains it all for you -- I'll leave a link for you in the Show Notes below.
For now though, just know that Brave is a solid, secure browser with built-in features to protect your security even more online.
The only downside that I've found so far with Brave is it doesn't have a huge number of extensions or add-ons available.
That said, at least for myself, a lot of the add-ons I'd want are already built into Brave by default.
Brave's available for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS devices...so if you'd like to give it a test drive, hit up the Show Notes below for a link!
Okay before we wrap things up I promised that I'd throw a few honourable mentions your way. In addition to these three top alternatives to Google Chrome, here are three other really great choices:
There's Opera, which as been around for a long, long time. You could also try out Epic, a browser that's all about privacy and security, and Dissenter, which blocks ads and trackers by default.
I haven't fiddled much at all with these three honourable mentions myself, but they get lots of positive reviews and you can certainly give them a try if you like.
And by the way, here's what's really great too: If you're sitting there after all of this not being sure which browser to use...download and try out all of them! After all, they're all free, so why not?!
So there's our look at some alternative web browsers to Google Chrome. Now don't forget what I said earlier on -- if you're doing any kind of web design, you'll want to keep Google Chrome installed for testing purposes.