Alternative Browser Alliance
How times have changed! When the original version of this site was launched, the second "Browser War" was in full swing. Internet Explorer was dominant, Safari was new, and Firefox and Opera were the scrappy alternatives trying to claw control of the structure of the web away from Microsoft and ensure it remained open, and not just another way for Microsoft to extend their desktop OS monopoly. The main goal of the site was to encourage Firefox and Opera proponents to focus on promoting alternatives to IE, rather than tearing each other down.
Now, Google Chrome dominates access to the web. Even alternatives like Microsoft Edge (odd to consider it an "alternative" when it's pre-installed on Windows!), Opera and Brave use the same underlying code. Firefox is the only major alternative that isn't built on Chromium or WebKit. Mobile access through smartphones and tablets matter as much, if not more, than desktop computers. And the biggest concern is no longer Microsoft's Windows monopoly, but privacy vs. targeted advertising by way of surveillance and user tracking, a space currently also dominated by Google.
(One thing that hasn't changed is the danger of having a single engine for malware to target the vast majority of web users. It's just Chromium now instead of Internet Explorer.)
- We still recommend Firefox on all the platforms it's available on. Yes, including your phone!
- We recommend Vivaldi as a replacement for Opera, which was acquired by a global conglomerate in 2016. Opera is still around, but Vivaldi, launched by former Opera staff including its co-founder, seems to have their users' interests more at heart.
- We can't recommend Chrome anymore because (a) it's no longer an "alternative" in any sense and (b) Google is leveraging its dominant market share to shore up their advertising market share.
For further recommendations and other reading about web browsers, privacy, and user control vs. surveillance-as-a-business-model, check out some of these resources:
- EFF's write-up on FLoC, Google's proposed (as of 2021) user-tracking replacement for third-party cookies that somehow manages to be even worse than what it replaces. Vivaldi's statement is also worth reading.
- Switching Software: Alternatives to Chrome
- Good Reports: Web Browsers
- AlternativeTo: Google Chrome
- ExpressVPN: Best web browsers for security and privacy in 2021
- Clean up the Web!