In my last article, I explained just what a web browser was and the purpose it served. In this article, we’re going to look at a few prominent web browsers available, and some pros and cons presented by each.

There are many different versions of browsers. For example, if I were to take a random sample of 5 computers, and the browser on each was Internet Explorer (IE), I would probably end up with many different versions; IE6, IE7, IE8 or IE9. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to be examining the latest versions of each browser. You can usually find what version you have in the Help menu of your browser of choice.

Internet Explorer 9 (IE9)

To begin with, I should state that IE (Internet Explorer), with this new release, has overhauled their entire platform in an effort to be competitive.

IE has adapted many features from other browsers, yet the font library and the Pin-Up Links are features exclusive to IE9. Most won’t notice the font library, but it makes smaller fonts easier to read and sharper.

In addition, pinning websites to your taskbar definitely adds a convenience factor. As for security, unfortunately for IE9 it came in last at a recent white hackers conference. Another drawback to IE9 is that it’s not available for Windows XP. IE8 is the last version they will receive from Microsoft.

It can hold it’s own against competitors and, if you’re looking for a more in depth browsing experience, it has many new features to explore.

Firefox 9

Firefox, the not-for-profit browser from Mozilla, has long been a reliable alternative to IE with many features that easily placed it above the competition.

In previous versions, the usage of memory by Firefox was a large complaint, but in the newer versions they’ve addressed these issues and significantly lowered the memory footprint. A new feature is the panorama and pinned tabs feature. For users that enjoy having multiple tabs open, this is a new way to organize and group tabs, as well as visually see thumbnails of each; easy to use, handy and convenient.

The bottom line with Firefox is that it’s scalable, multi-platform (MAC/PC), versatile, quick, reliable, and always improving. A good choice for anybody wanting to get more out of their browsing experience than just viewing webpages.

Chrome 16

Google’s Chrome was originally introduced as a speedy lightweight browsing alternative and, after 3 years on the market, they have kept to the same premise, while consistently improving their experience.

Chrome was the first to introduce the minimalist browsing experience, leaving only the address/search bar, tabs, and a settings button. Since it’s inception, all other popular browsers have adopted this model.

A major selling point for some is Chrome’s built in features, such as Flash and a PDF reader. This makes for a much more streamlined usage experience as, anyone who has setup browsers from scratch before knows, you’ll have to go and download all of these programs elsewhere before running your browser.

Chrome has the best HTML5 and JavaScript rendering speeds currently and is always improving and developing. A great browser for any user, PC or MAC.

Safari 5

This browser is native to the MAC platform but can also be used on PC’s as well, and, with the latest release, is quite snappy on both versions.

The newest release has some of the best HTML5 support and top notch JavaScript support allowing it to remain competitive (and even take an edge), a new Reader option which streamlines the way articles are read and support for a default search provider (Bing). There is also the vastly improved Tab Management.

It’s only drawback is it’s lack of customizability for the user. With the extensions being promised in the summer of 2012, it should easily remain on par with the other browsers.

Use the browser you like, explore it’s features, and have a great web surfing experience!