Joseph Choe

My Favorite Browser (Or Why It Doesn't Matter)

I vaguely remember the browser wars of the late 90s. I was a teenager back then, so I mostly followed the crowd with no fully-formed opinions of my own.

Netscape was pretty popular back then. Firefox was released in the early 2000s, with the demise of Netscape following shortly thereafter. And now we have a whole lot more.

Most people I know browse the Internet from a single browser, perhaps with 50+ tabs open to different things. However, I’m not very fanatical about that sort of thing. Instead, I take a different approach.

I use as many browsers as I can.

As a software developer, I need to support so many different browsers anyway in order to test each one’s idiosyncrasies. But even more in my personal life, I can dedicate each browser to a specific purpose.

I refrain from logging into any website on a browser like Chrome or Safari, because those are owned by their respective companies, Google and Apple, and they’re pretty notorious about tracking people or “gathering telemetry data”. Instead, I use privacy-oriented browsers like Brave or Opera to log into bank accounts or email.

However, I still might use Chrome or Safari in other ways.

One of the many things you can’t help but notice is how different websites keep track of you. Content on YouTube, for example, is curated via algorithm based on your past history and engagement with their platform. Because of that, if you watch a single video on a particular subject, your feed could become inundated with videos of a similar kind.

That’s not really what I want. I want to control what I see on my feed, and so if I receive a link to a video that’s only a one-off, I use Chrome. And because of the way browsers work, each a walled garden unto itself, they typically don’t cross-pollute with each other.

So that’s why I don’t have a favorite browser. I’ll use four or five browsers concurrently, each with a specific purpose in mind.