We all know that variety is the spice of life. Choice is good, right? Look at all the choices we have to spend our money or take up our time. Cars, clothes, gadgets, TV, websites, food– you name it, it comes in choices.
Where does having so many choices become an effort of diminishing returns for our time? Email comes to mind. It takes time to wade through all the messages and spam; and for what? Wasted time. How about all the different browsers available for us to visit the same websites?
Go down the list of what you use, or have used, or could use as your browser of choice. Most of Apple’s customers choose Safari. It’s fast, has enough useful features, and it’s priced right. Free. The most popular and most used browser is Google’s Chrome. I don’t use it anymore because I don’t like Google’s business model which depends upon tracking users.
What else? Mozilla’s Firefox might be the fastest browser on the Mac but it’s hard to tell anymore because they’re all fast and work much the same. Those three just scratch the surface of browsers available for Mac users or iPhone and iPad users. Windows folk get to choose, too. Chrome leads Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the newer Edge browser.
Word on the streets says Microsoft is surrendering to Google and plans to use Chromium– the platform that gave birth to Chrome– to replace the home grown browser development in Edge. Yes, yet another browser.
Microsoft plans to bring its new browser to macOS. Edge already runs on iOS. Zac Bowden on Microsoft’s plans:
As Microsoft announces plans to rebuild Edge from the ground up, the company also said it plans to bring its new version of Edge to older versions of Windows, including Windows 7, and Windows 8, in an effort to make Edge available to more markets. In addition, Microsoft will introduce a version of Edge for macOS, making Edge a true cross-platform browser.
The most obvious question to come from this news is, well, why? Why so many browsers? Seriously?
From Chrome to Safari, from Firefox to Opera, from Brave to Vivaldi, from Chromium to Edge, and a dozen or two or three more, we are swimming in browsers, regardless of platform. Google’s Chrome is the most used on Windows and Android. After that, Safari has a strong claim for second place, thanks to a billion or so iPhone and iPad customers. Internet Explorer and Edge have not captured anyone’s fancy, and Mozilla’s Firefox is losing marketshare.
After that, it’s dozens of additional browsers that do much the same thing in slightly different ways. Yes, choice is good, but how many choices in products that do the same thing do we need. After all, it’s not like anyone but Google, Apple, and Mozilla make any money on their browsers.
Enough already. Let’s give Microsoft their due with Edge moving to Chrome and then call an end to all but the Top 10 Browsers. Or, the Top 5 Browsers.