Students are once again casting a critical eye over technology, this time discussing which web browser they navigate to and why when searching the web.
The results of a student-led poll of their ‘Favoured Web Browser‘ has echoed the results of The Student Room‘s recent Technology Survey to confirm that, as a brand, Google is a consistent favourite among students.
Despite the release of the latest Microsoft offering, Internet Explorer 9 last year, Google Chrome dominated both the student-led poll and the accompanying comments taking the overwhelming majority of the votes (65.52%).
‘Chrome. I use Firefox at work, but that’s only because the other alternative is IE8.’
The results matched those of TSR’s Technology survey with the majority choosing Google Chrome, followed by just over one fifth for Firefox, however, the student-led poll produced considerably worse results for Internet Explorer.
‘Firefox i’ve used before, it’s okay. Chrome is alright. Safari is a steaming turd.’
- Google Chrome 65.52% (58.9%)
- Firefox 21.84% (21.8%)
- Safari 3.45%
- Internet Explorer 3.45% (14.7%)
- Opera 4.60%
- Other 1.15%
( ) – indicate the results of TSR’s Technology Survey
‘Firefox for me. I find it as fast or sometimes faster than Chrome, usually more stable and the add-ons are great…’
The remainder of the votes were spread out thinly between Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer.
‘Chrome. Used to use firefox but it kept crashing, then I downloaded it again the other day and hated it. Chrome is just so much more elegant and useful.’
- Google Chrome
‘Chrome. It’s fast, tidy and looks really lovely.’
Those that favour Google Chrome complimented the browser on both its speed and layout, with the only technical criticism relating to the amount of memory used by the browser.
‘Using Chrome all the time but I am going to look into these privacy and hoarding information issues. I’m sure every browser does that anyway?’
Some also expressed concern about recent reports in the news about data handling. Those critical of its hype and popularity considered it a fashion choice rather than a feature-based one.
‘To me it seems like people who used IE back before Chrome even existed now all use Chrome as it’s the ‘cool’ one to use, and people who actually knew what they were doing back then are split between Chrome, Firefox and Safari. I’ve been using Firefox for donkeys years and have never had a reason to use anything else.’
‘Firefox 13. Non-profit organisation FTW!’
Many comments about Firefox came from both current and former users, with those browsing elsewhere having experienced difficulties with recent upgrades rather than improvements.
‘Chrome – narrowly over Safari. Used to use Firefox, but gone off it since the recent upgrades.’
Students praised Firefox not just for its functional advantages, such as its bookmark facility, speed, and add-ons, but for the more social agenda of the creators behind the browser, Mozilla.
‘Firefox, best bookmark system ever! one click and i get my list of 200 bookmarks. with chrome you have to click like 2 things, and no scrolling. chrome is rubbish.’
- Internet Explorer
‘I only ever use IE. I fail to see the big issue with it. Always loads up want I want fine mostly.’
The pervading sentiment regarding Internet Explorer is that other browsers on the whole just function better. Comparatively, it is described as slow and unstable in terms of loading pages and supporting multiple tabs, at least in the past.
‘Chrome opens instantly on here I have to wait 7 odd seconds for IE to load… not acceptable still…’
‘a bit unstable and doesn’t render pages properly. Also, it doesn’t handle a lot of tabs that well. But, you can work with any other tabs even if one is not responding which is pretty useful.’
Unfortunately, the fixes to this legacy of development difficulties have come too late for many former users now content to browse elsewhere.
‘It is surprisingly good. They have good page load times, good hardware accelerated graphics, and good standards compliance (better than Firefox and Chrome in places). Nothing that would make me want to switch back from Chrome, but enough that if I had never changed in the first place there wouldn’t be any huge problems to catalyse me trying something else.’
‘P.s. Their ad campaign is really awesome.’
Safari appears to be the new home(page) for some of those who have navigated away from Firefox. Nevertheless, it was not found to be a foolproof alternative, and while offering advantages such as the Top Sites facility, which saves a panel of links to frequently visited sites or those manually added by users, it was commented that it does not have the same capacity for withstanding multiple open tabs.
‘ex-firefox, but it kept crashing on me. Now safari, love the top sites feature although it doesn’t handle loads and loads of tabs like firefox used to.’
It is also perhaps lesser known among Windows users due to being the default Mac browser, even though there is a Windows compatible version available for download.
‘Opera, love the mouse gestures and not really had any serious problems with speed although compatibility is an issue for some sites, particularly government run ones.’
Users of Opera enjoy the gestures option which allows the performance of common browsing actions using small mouse movements. Similarly, the ‘Other’ option referred to is Dolphin which runs on the iPad and offers gestures in a touchscreen format.
‘I think it’s really good! It’s much better than Safari anyway! …The use of ‘gestures’ makes navigating around the browser really quick and easy… Obviously you have to set it up to do the gestures, but it is very useful. You can also create gesture for actions such as ‘refresh’, ‘forward a page’ and ‘back a page’. The fact that you can use the browser in full screen mode is also appealing… ‘
- Computers: Students favour Windows, Microsoft, and Google, and take laptops over tablets
- Internet and Mobiles: One tenth of students get the net from a mobile network and most choose Android over Apple