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Battle of the browsers: Edge vs. Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Safari vs. Opera vs. IE vs. Vivaldi

Google Chrome used to clearly be the best browser, with its speed advantage and extension ecosystem, but that’s changing. We’re living in the golden age of web browsers, and users are spoiled when it comes to choice.

After decades of criticism, Microsoft is replacing Internet Explorer with Edge, a lean browser designed for Windows 10. Mozilla Firefox and Opera, meanwhile, continue to optimize features and add new tools, while Safari’s focus on power usage gives Mac users a serious reason to consider using the default. And then there’s the new kid in town, Vivaldi, with a minimalist design and near-total customization.

Related: Which browser makes you most productive? There’s now an answer

You can’t really go wrong with any of the popular browsers, but there are a few things here and there that give each its own competitive edge.

Installation, updates, and compatibility

Installation across the browsers is basically the same. Users can download them from their respective websites if they aren’t built into your operating system already — i.e. Safari, Edge, IE — and each will typically download in under 30 seconds.

Below is a list of browser compatibility.

  • Google Chrome: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Mozilla Firefox : Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Internet Explorer (32 and 64-bit): Windows
  • Safari: Mac OS X (Windows version no longer supported)
  • Opera: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux
  • Edge: Available with Windows 10, not available for older versions of Windows.
  • Vivaldi: Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux

When it comes to updates, most of the browsers are now more or less equivalent. Background updating is the default practice. In the case of Chrome, Firefox, Vivaldi, and Opera, it’s handled through the app. Edge and Safari are updated through Microsoft and Apple’s respective update utilities. Internet Explorer is the only browser that’s no longer receiving updates, as it’s been put out to pasture in favor of Edge. However, it’s still available for use on Windows machines for compatibility reasons.

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