With a 66% market share, Google Chrome is by far the most used web browser in the world. Except that its use generates real problems for the security of our personal data and our privacy since this browser contains cookies and trackers.
This browser was first released in 2008 for Microsoft Windows, and was later ported to Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android where it is the default browser built into the OS. Most of Chrome's source code comes from Google's free and open-source software project Chromium, but Chrome is licensed as proprietary freeware. WebKit was the original rendering engine, but Google eventually forked it to create the Blink engine; all Chrome variants except iOS now use Blink.
A 2019 review by Washington Post technology columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler found that in a typical week of browsing, Chrome allowed thousands of more cookies to be stored and that Chrome was sending information about all of his browsing to Google because he had logged into his Gmail account. Fowler pointed out that because of its advertising businesses, despite the privacy controls it offers users, Google is a major producer of third-party cookies and has a financial interest in collecting user data.
Credit: Washington Post
Even if the market shares do not yet reflect this trend, more and more users are turning to other solutions because they consider the benefits of Google Chrome (in particular the tracking features) unnecessary or harmful. So if questions of privacy, security, monopoly or ecology seem important to you, it is probably time for you to use a browser other than Chrome.
Which browser to replace Chrome?
If you've been using Chrome for a few years, you've no doubt taken your marks and your bearings. Nowadays, changing browsers is not as complicated as it seems if you take certain parameters into account upstream.
To help you in this reflection, I've selected and compared several browsers that meet the following criteria:
- Chromium-based. Indeed, you will probably want to find all the add-ons that you added to Chrome. By choosing a browser that was built with Chromium, you can be sure that all your Chrome add-ons can be installed there. That's why Firefox is not listed here, despite all its qualities.
- Updated. If you decide to change your browser, your should choose one which is reliable, recent and updated. I therefore voluntarily decided to retain only browsers that are updated regularly.
- Mobile available. Security, privacy and energy consumption issues also arise on mobile, where we spend more and more time. It is therefore necessary that your future browser is also available in mobile version.
I've installed all of them, tested in several configuration, tried their private navigation mode and I've also tested their speed.
Below, the browsers are presented in alphabetic order.
Brave is an open source browser based on Chromium. This lightweight browser boasts improved loading speeds and reduced consumption of system resources, mainly due to its advanced ad tracking and blocking capabilities. Brave is available on Windows, OS X and Linux as well as on iOS and Android. The latest version of Brave was released on July 15, 2020.
Brave benefits from a growing community of developers working on its improvement and natively integrates the HTTPS Everywhere extension that blocks cookies by default.
Safety and privacy
By default, Brave blocks all ads and trackers to protect the user. But the latter has the possibility of authorizing them via the preferences panel of the browser. You also have private browsing if you wish.
As advertising is the main source of income for many websites, Brave also offers a system called Brave Rewards which allows users to make anonymous donations to content producers they wish to support. Brave then automatically redistributes these microdonations to content producers.
Brave allows the installation and use of extensions if compatible with Chromium. So you will not have compatibility concerns here.
The browser also offers a number of innovative tab-based features, such as tab previews, which provide a full screen preview of a tab when you hover your mouse pointer over it.
Edge is Microsoft's attempt to make the most of the leftover Internet Explorer and provide a safer and more elegant web browsing experience for users. The latest version was released on August 20, 2020.
Safety and privacy
Microsoft designed Edge to be more secure than Internet Explorer by removing some features and adding others. For example, Edge does not provide support for VBScript, JScript, VML, browser helper objects, toolbars, or ActiveX controls. That said, Edge remains a "Microsoft" product that is not much better than Google when it comes to respecting personal data.
In addition to Windows 10, Edge is also available for iOS and Android mobiles and tablets. Both versions provide background synchronization of information with your Windows 10 PC to allow seamless navigation across all devices.
Opera Software has been developing and managing the Opera browser since 1994. The first public version of the browser was released in 1996 and was designated version 2.0. Today, Opera is available for Windows, macOS, Linux operating systems, as well as Android and iOS. The latest version was released on July 27, 2020.
Safety and privacy
Opera was one of the few browsers listed here that was not compromised during the Pwn2Own 2019 . Clearly, this browser has several security features that help protect users while surfing the net.
Perhaps Opera's most useful security feature is its free Virtual Private Network (VPN) feature which was introduced in 2016. This protects the browsing session by encrypting the browser's internet connection, which protects activities user's online prying eyes.
Please note that Opera's VPN solution is not as complete as the one offered by paid services, since Opera's only offers protection for all browser-related actions. This means that all online activity on your computer, such as e-mail, torrenting, and other applications, is always " visible " when monitored by third parties.
Opera activates fraud protection and malware alerts by default. Simply, this means that the browser checks any requested web page against a blacklisted database of websites. If the requested site is on this blacklist, a warning page is displayed before the page is displayed. The user must then decide for himself whether or not he wishes to open the requested page.
The browser also includes a native ad blocker which Opera says displays web pages up to 90% faster. As a daily Opera user, this natively integrated Adblock is a real treat.
The Vivaldi web browser is developed by Vivaldi Technologies, a Norwegian company founded by the historic co-creator and ex-CEO of Opera Jon Stephenson von Tetzchner (Opera, Vivaldi,....). Technically, Vivaldi is a fork of Opera. The browser is updated regularly and has grown in popularity since its first preview released on January 27, 2015. The latest version (3.1) was released on July 29, 2020.
Vivaldi offers many customization options (graphic themes, dark mode, etc.) but also clever keyboard and mouse shortcuts that allow you to navigate and work more efficiently and quickly.
Safety and privacy
The Vivaldi browser does not collect any data on their users. Thus during private browsing, the websites you visit, cookies and temporary files are not stored by Vivaldi.
As the choice of search engine can have a big impact on your online privacy, Vivaldi includes a separate default search engine for private windows so that you can get the privacy you deserve. You can also add multiple search engines.
Among the interesting options at your disposal, you can choose to block trackers but also advertisements.
Unlike Opera, Vivaldi is only available for Android. This may be his only flaw.