Chrome lost its shine? Five alternative browsers to try

Branch out with your browser choice

Google Chrome may be the biggest web browser at the moment, but things can change. It wasn't too long ago that Microsoft was on top. Now Chrome is the runaway winner, according to Statcounter figures, hoovering up 60 per cent of the market and trailed by Safari, UC Browser, Firefox and Opera.

There are good reasons for that. When Chrome launched, it offered a faster, more streamlined way to browse the internet than its rivals. Its automatic update schedule meant it was easier to stay ahead of security threats. Plus the breadth of Google's product portfolio meant it was easy to get sucked in; signing into Chrome means you are automatically signed into YouTube, Google Drive and other Google products. Your bookmarks, site passwords, preferences and other data comes along too.

But perhaps that reach doesn’t sit too comfortably with you. Maybe you’d like to give Google a little less insight into your life. De-Googling your entire life may not be practical, but you can choose another browser.


Good old Firefox. Before Chrome came along, it was the top browser for those looking to move away from Internet Explorer. Chrome snatched its crown, but there is plenty to like about the updated version of Firefox, dubbed Firefox Quantum. It's claims to be faster than Chrome, and use less memory so it won't hog your computer's resources. Plus we have a bit of a soft spot for Firefox, so it's good to see it come back as a genuine contender for Chrome.



At some point, browsers all begin to blend in to one another. The features that once set them apart - a built in ad blocker, for example - have become ubiquitous. Opera is now offering a battery saver and a free VPN, so you can not only cut down on the power that your web browsing is sucking from your laptop and browse longer, you can also browse more privately.


Speaking of privacy concerns, if you value your privacy, the Tor browser takes things up a notch. It uses the Tor network to move your communications around a series of relays so it’s harder to track your web traffic. The browser is pre configured - handy if you aren’t the most tech savvy person - so unless you have specific requirements, it is ready to out of the box. You don’t even have to install it on your computer; you can put it on a USB stick and take it away with you.


Want more how control over how your browser looks and performs? Check out Vivaldi. It's built using the Chromium engine, but it is very different to Chrome. You can control everything from the colour scheme to the position of the tab bar, add filters, customise shortcuts, group tabs and even view in splitscreen. Basically, there's a lot of very useful stuff that you never knew you needed.


If you just want something lightweight and easy to get on with, Midori is a good option. It supports the essentials like HTML 5 and Spotify, has an integrated ad blocker plus a simple way to manage your privacy, and it’s speedy.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist