Web tracker StatCounter says that for the first time, usage of Google's Chrome web browser has surpassed Firefox to become the second most popular browser, behind Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Though the stats are from the United Kingdom only, Chrome is on pace to soon surpass Firefox globally. What is driving Chrome's popularity, and should your business be using it?
Google wants us all to live in the browser, businesses included, and is taking steps to make it possible. It's developing the Chrome OS at the same time, which allows its Chromebook, a netbook-like laptop, to run what appears to be nothing but a web browser. Google is constantly adding features to make its browser more secure, faster and easier to use. Most of these aren't exclusive to Chrome, but the Chrome browser is unique in incorporating them all. Here are the top five reasons your business should be using Google Chrome.
Sandboxing prevents what's happening in one browser tab from affecting other tabs, by running each tab as a separate process. This is like separating browser tabs into individual programs that can't talk to each other. This helps prevent malware from installing, which is critical in preventing outside attackers from gaining access to your business's data. It also generally keeps a tab that has crashed from affecting other tabs, which can save you time and lost work.
No matter how carefully coded, all software has bugs, and some of these can make the software insecure. To minimise the time required to patch these holes as they are discovered, Google built Chrome to auto-update, so it constantly patches itself. This not only reduces the chance of an outside attacker exploiting a hole in the software, but it gives you the latest features as they are released as well.
3. Safe Browsing
The Internet is a dangerous place, with malware and phishing the two most common threats. Google tracks websites it suspects are dangerous, and if you enable Safe Browsing, Chrome will bring up a warning page before you visit one of these sites. This is another step to keep malware from opening your computer to an outside attacker, and it also helps prevent business related login information from falling into the wrong hands.
Firefox's large library of extensions is one of the reasons for its success. Chrome offers an extensive number of extensions as well, yet through Google's Web Store. Extensions offer users a way to expand the functionality of their browser. Increasingly, web-based services like those from Google, Evernote and StumbleUpon are using Chrome extensions to more tightly integrate their websites with the browser.
Chrome's capability to install, enable, disable and uninstall extensions without restarting the browser not only saves time, but with extensions such as Context, it allows users to turn on and off groups of extensions depending on need.