The best Web browser: Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, or Safari?

Find out which of the leading browsers is the perfect balance of features, speed, innovation, and flexibility for you

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The battle of the Web browsers: Google Chrome 5.0
It's easy for a programmer to be enthusiastic about Google's Chrome because Google has been emphasizing some of the things that programmers love. Chrome sticks each Web page in a completely separate process, which you can see by opening up Windows Task Manager. If some Web programmer creates an infinite loop or a bad AJAX call in a Web page, Chrome isolates the trouble. Your other pages can keep on running. This isolation isn't perfect, though, because Chrome users have still experienced crashes.

The good news is that Chrome is among the fastest current browsers, at least when using long-running JavaScript loops as benchmarks. It also offers good support of the HTML5 standards and will continue to push them, at least in spirit.

There is some confusion afoot, though, because in addition to backing HTML5, Google is also embracing Adobe Flash. Google is supporting Flash by including it in the Android OS, and reports claim future versions of Chrome will sport their own, well-tuned version of the Flash plug-in, an approach that will probably do even more to fix crashes and annoying bugs. The developers won't be able to point at each other across the moat and blame the other side.

Google also encourages plug-ins, and the collection for Chrome is growing quickly. Chrome's plug-in architecture is much simpler than Firefox's because it only lets coders write in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This is typically more than adequate, and many Firefox developers port their creations to Chrome with little extra work.

If there's one complaint about Chrome, it's that it remains a relatively small presence; thus, Web developers usually get around to testing their work on Chrome only after trying IE, Firefox, and Safari first. Just the other day, one of Facebook's AJAX calls failed on Chrome but worked when I tried the same button on IE. Chrome offers nice developer tools, though, and I suspect that the Web development gap will slowly disappear.

If that's not enough for you, Chrome is also the one and only component of the Chromium OS. When the operating system boots, it starts up Chrome, then it's nothing but HTML for your machine. It's a very lightweight vision of the future.

Best for: People who want to juggle many windows filled with code that crashes every so often.
Worst for: People who get upset when a website breaks because the developer tested the site on IE only.

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