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(Credit: Google)

Back in 2008 Google released its first version of Chrome for Windows. That year Microsoft's Internet Explorer owned the web browser market that year, topping a 66 percent share.

But Google's web browser is based on an open-source platform and gives users access to huge number of extensions to augment their browsing experience. By 2010 Google brought the Chrome browser to Linux and MacOS, and by 2012 it appeared on the Android mobile platform. A couple of years later Chrome arrived for iOS devices.

It's hard to say if Google intended Chrome to become the one browser to "rule them all," but as of early 2019 it's swapped places with Microsoft's now two browsers and claims two thirds of the world's browsing population.

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(Credit: Google)

What makes Chrome so great that it has become the de facto web standard by which all others are measured? The short answer is that it's a very good browser. Let's dive into the details.

Browsing speed

When it comes to startup times, Google Chrome is just slightly slower than Firefox Quantum. But in our informal tests, it lags by less than a second, so unless you have an unusually keen sense of the passage of time, these differences are indistinguishable. For starting up, Chrome is one of the fastest browsers out there, period.

But there is another side to this story, and that part is written in navigation times (navigating from one website to another). In this metric the Chrome web browser is actually worse than Firefox or Safari by a couple of seconds per page in our informal tests, which is a noticeable difference. In fact, according to some online testing Chrome is actually about half a second slower than the average for all web browsers, the reasons for which are likely due to Chrome's use of system resources.

SEE: Make Your Browser Work for You with the Best Chrome Extensions

Despite the differences in performance, for most users it won't be significant. In the grand scheme that's not much of a difference and it shouldn't bother users unless they are moving between many sites in short order.

System resource usage

Compared to the other two web browser speedsters -- Firefox and Safari -- Chrome is a bit of a resource hog, which may explain why it takes longer to navigate between pages in Chrome. The Chrome web browser uses more RAM and more CPU cycles than its main competitors, in our informal test.

Privacy and security

One of the aspects of Chrome that most users will appreciate is that it auto-updates in the background, thus ensuring that you have the latest version of the Chrome web browser with the latest security patches always in place. Like many other browsers, if you attempt to open a web page that is suspicious in some way -- like it's suspected of phishing or propagating malware -- Chrome gives you a warning. Chrome also allows for antivirus plugins to be installed to your heart's desire.

When it comes to privacy, the Chrome browser offers its "incognito" mode, which doesn't save the browsing history, allow cookies or site data, or save any information entered into forms. It's not "invisible" browsing, as you can still be seen by the websites you visit, and your ISP can track you, but for basic privacy it's a handy feature. Chrome also gives you some control over blocking intrusive ads through preference settings.

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(Credit: Google)

Interface

Google Chrome uses a very clean and simple user interface that's very easy to navigate. The top of the navigation bar contains a button to access apps as well as list of the most commonly visited sites. Bookmarking of websites is a breeze as you can do this with one mouse click (and a little dragging) or by using the normal keyboard shortcut.

A handy feature of Chrome is that if you get a free Chrome account then you can synchronize your web-browsing proclivities across any device you're using be it a desktop computer or a cell phone.

Chrome also with a wealth of extensions that let you extend the usefulness of your browser. Google even offers a browser extension store for easy browsing.

Pros

  • Interface. Simple, clean, intuitive.
  • Stability. Chrome's use of a separate process for each tab means if one crashes it doesn't bring the entire browsing session to its knees.
  • Privacy and security. Built-in help to prevent malware, phishing, and incognito mode to limit exposure of your online activities to other users of the computer.
  • Extensions and apps. The ability to customize and supercharge your browser while still having access to the Google suite of apps.

Cons

  • Resource hog. Relatively speaking, Chrome is a resource hog.
  • Not the fastest. Chrome is not the fastest browser out there, and switching between tabs adds a couple of seconds per click.

Bottom Line

Chrome is the current browser king, and it's hard not to see why. It's a very stable, clean, intuitive and powerful browser that can link bookmarks and passwords across devices while giving users the ability to customize extensively. Unless you have a strong motivation to use a different browser -- like you require the fastest browser out there or privacy is your No. 1 concern -- there isn't much of a reason to consider any other browser than Chrome.

Competitive products

  • Firefox Quantum. Mozilla's flagship product (download on Windows and Macs) is arguably the fastest and most secure of the major browsers.
  • Safari. Apple's signature browser (download on Mac) is used mostly by Mac users but is also available for Windows.
  • Opera. A browser with fewer features (download on Windows and Mac), but good for web browsing over slower internet connections.
  • Brave. A new browser (download for Windows and Mac) with a focus on privacy and an interesting way of compensating websites.

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Bart G. Farkas is an author and writer and has more than 100 print gaming strategy guides to his name. He has been writing about gaming and technology for over 20 years in numerous magazines. He has also written more than a dozen non-gaming technology books and writes the odd romance novel when so moved. Bart lives in Alberta, Canada.