How-To Geek

Ask the Readers: Browser Wars – Which One will be Victorious in 2011?


With each passing week it seems like the browser wars are becoming more fierce as all of the participants add new features and release versions more often. This week we would like to know which browser or browsers you think will be victorious in 2011.


During the past year all of the major browsers have gone through some major changes in order to stay relevant and capture market share. Some good examples are:

  • Google Chrome’s continued work on increasing browser speed, adding features, and stepping up the release rate for new versions
  • Internet Explorer’s embracing of web standards, increased speed, and major UI enhancements
  • Mozilla Firefox’s UI overhaul, increased speed, addition of new features, and plans to increase the release rate for new versions
  • Opera’s new JavaScript engine, UI changes, and the addition of extension support for the first time ever
  • Safari’s addition of new features and extensions

With so much change going on it can be hard to keep up with it all at times. But every improvement makes browsing better for all of us and serves as inspiration for new ideas and features for future releases. And if one browser is going through a rough spot on their development at the moment you definitely have options to choose from until things get better. 2011 looks to be an exciting year on the browser front!

This week we would like to know which browser or browsers you think will be victorious in 2011. Do you think your chosen browser(s) will prevail based on new (or enhancement of current) features? Maybe speed will be the deciding factor for your selection(s). Perhaps usability and stability will be the most important factors for you. Let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments!

Note: On this week’s poll you can make up to two selections when voting.

[polldaddy poll=”4525487″]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 02/9/11

Comments (50)

  1. matt

    I like Chrome’s speed, but its add ons still don’t match up to firefox’s. Pentadactyl and Tree style tab are the best examples of what I mean.

  2. Santo

    Firefox is the best and it becomes even more better with its add on’s. For example I just can’t think of using FF without ABP add on.

  3. johnp80

    There is some interesting developments coming out of mozilla in the next year, but Chrome is competitive. The main edges that Firefox has are add-ons, and also to some extent privacy, the release of the do-not follow option in the latest beta is a major improvement, and the version of adblock plus for firefox is more effective than the version for chrome, even though it has the same developer

  4. Q.T. Getomov

    I’m rolling on Chrome as I like the speed, the simple address bar search and the fact that it’s so thin. When I see people using IE or Firefox I can’t understand how they put up with all that faff on the top of their window obscuring about a third of the screen.

  5. thenonhacker

    Hey editor: Even if you change the question to: “What is your favorite browser?”, you will get the same survey results! :D

  6. Daryl

    Converted to Chrome from Firefox in the latter part of 2010 and have gotten very used to it, to the extent that it is now the primary browser on all my systems.

    Firefox was getting slow and it was becoming a real P I T A to wait for it to load sometimes.

    I think Chrome has stolen a march on Firefox in terms of competing with IE users as Google is a known brand to regular consumers and I predict that we shall unfortunately see Firefox go the way of netscape in due course.

  7. Asian Angel

    I think that things are going to be much more interesting and nicer for Mozilla once the final version of Firefox 4.0 is released. I know that it has suffered delays but it is a whole different browser from the 3.6.x series in how it feels and functions. ^_^

    Opera has really stepped things up with their new JavaScript engine and then with adding extension support in as well. The 10.x series was a pleasure to use but I absolutely love the 11.x releases. ^_^ I do hope that people will give Opera a try if they have not yet done so. ^_^

    As for Internet Explorer 9, I am waiting to see what the release candidates and final version are like before I can say anything much one way or the other. One thing I do feel certain about is that version 9 is going to be a big improvement over the older versions! ^_^

    Regarding Chrome I think they will continue to release often, but outside of increased speed and some carry-over from Chrome OS I really wonder what else they are going to do with it. The UI is pretty stripped down already, so I have no idea what else they plan to add or change in the way of features. >_>

  8. Paul

    I find it interesting that while IE is still the most common browser at 45%, with Firefox at 30% and Chrome at 10%*, that pattern is reversed amongst the respondents here. Maybe this has to do with the tech-savvy nature of HTG readers, but what has surprised me is that so many seem willing to trust a company that has issues with user privacy. Chrome is fast and good-looking, but I’ve found browsing without the Adblock Plus, Targeted Advertising Cookie Opt-Out and NoScript add-ons available in Firefox to be an unpleasant experience. For the sake of those I willingly put up with Firefox’s regular crashes :)

    *According to wikimedia browser usage stats, Oct 2010 (

  9. Ryan

    For Chrome to get better the extensions really need to improve, sure there are a few good extensions that you can’t get in other browsers but generally I prefer Firefox extensions. Google needs to let us customise Chrome more.

    I’m liking the new look for Firfox 4 but the speed really needs to be improved. As for the other browser, Opera will always have just a niche market, IE doesn’t really stand a chance any more and who uses Safari unless they can’t be bothered to change their browser?

  10. Pretzels

    I really do not mind which one will be victorious in this year. Firefox has all the support that I need & is much more flexible compared to other browsers. All in all, Firefox.

    @Q.T. Getomov
    The padding of my FF is thinner than the browser you are currently running.

  11. Hatryst

    Firefox Forever :) Expecting big changes in the future, I’m sure it would surpass all other browsers !

  12. Asian Angel

    @Pretzels – Now that is a thin UI!! ^_^ I keep mine thicker as seen above simply for the Personas themes I love to use. ^_^ Efficient use of space? No, but definitely fun to look at. ^_^

  13. Asian Angel

    @Paul – I agree with you about Firefox having awesome extensions. ^_^ I do hear people talking about Firefox crashing on them but I honestly have no trouble with that happening to me. ^_^

    Also, thanks for posting the link to that chart. ^_^

  14. Asian Angel

    @Hatryst – Yes indeed! ^_^ I really am excited to see what the future holds for Firefox…I think it will evolve into a whole new browser now that the 3.6.x series is almost behind us. ^_^


    With the added weight of its extensions slowing things down a little bit Google Chrome is a still considerably faster than the rest I would say. If we can get the Firefox equivalent of FireBug I can surely uninstall Firefox from my machines. Go Chrome…go!

  16. gh

    I use opera exclusivly. Small tight \works perfectly with ridiculous number of tabs live.

  17. cowgod

    I have several pet peeves with Chrome that will ensure I never use it as my default browser:

    – Can’t start a find with the / key
    – Can’t set my own page as the new tab page
    – Can’t see the full URL when hovering a link unless I wait a few seconds
    – The shortcut to the developer tools is too long (let me press F12 for them please)
    – The session management needs to be like Firefox’s. Sometimes I want to save tabs when exiting, sometimes not.
    – Mouse Gestures don’t work on the new tab homepage or any chrome:// pages

  18. Brodiemac

    I’m a Firefox user and love it but I think Chrome will come out on top.

  19. Alexander

    I’m going with Chrome or Opera. I do love firefox, and have used it for years but it has lost its appeal to me. Extensions are great but I think a lot of them are useless (or rather, I don’t use them). Chrome is quick, I have a google account so all of my add-ons, bookmarks etc. are always synced which is great, I use multiple computers.
    Firefox is adding that feature but it’s rather weak. I hate having to create a new account just for them. Google has other stuff, so chrome for me, again.
    I say Opera only because of its beautiful design, and it always looks great no matter what, and they always come out with new features that everyone else copies, from its interface, to the speed dial, to the bookmark sync.
    Firefox is losing, that’s my belief.

  20. Anonymous

    I find it interesting that so many people will actually “choose” a browser from a company (er, developer) that could care less about security, privacy or even personal freedom. Users seem to want simplicity and/or “cool” factor at any cost.

    Google is one such company that strangely comes up with very interesting products like Chrome that would seem to buck their own “control the world” philosophy – but don’t be fooled! And since Google is about the only other company (other than Microsoft) directly involved in the advancement of smart phones, I predict Chrome to be the browser of dominance for many people in the near future simply because it will already be in use on everyone’s smart phone (even if they don’t actually “choose” Chrome either).

    The runner up or possible leader (which it is now) will probably be Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Just about everyone knows what IE is cause it already comes with Windows. However, IE has been a near disaster where privacy, bugs and even functionality were/are concerned and I don’t see those issues going away any time soon either. We’ve since seen improvements to IE with version 7 that were sorely needed and are now into version 8 with version 9 looming on the horizon. The very fact that there are so many new versions does not exactly instill confidence either. And with strange, exclusive and occasionally problematic add-ons/plugins like ActiveX I don’t think Microsoft will ever produce a simple or basic functional browser ever again. It’s simply not in their nature to simplify a product unless there’s money to be made. (Look no further than the outrageously priced “Office” suite if you want an example.)

    That pretty much leaves Firefox somewhere in second or third place. Firefox is great and is almost like the famous Lego building blocks. Just like Lego’s, you take a large block or piece of code and add what you want as you see fit. This approach has even encouraged a sub-category of developers too. But because Mozilla can’t seem to learn from their past I don’t think Firefox will ever get more popular that it already is. Quite frankly, Mozilla seems to be taking notes from Microsoft since the initial “Lego block” that Firefox starts off as seems to be getting bigger and bigger with each and every release – it’s getting bloated. In fact, there seems to be a move away from allowing the adding of components for some time now too (like tabs, RSS, etc.). And let’s face it, not everybody wants those things. Therefore, I anticipate Firefox 4 to be even more bloated and will almost certainly require updates almost the same day it is released just to keep it secure and functional (and just like Microsoft).

    So what about Opera or Safari? I say, what about them? It’s no surprise with Safari that almost no one other than Apple users actually use it (unless they use iTunes or something too). I’m just surprised Apple doesn’t require Safari to be present like Microsoft does (or did) with IE. In fact, I’m surprised that Steve Jobs hasn’t made uninstalling Safari a prerequisite to voiding a warranty! I mean, he hasn’t, has he?

    So what about Opera then? IMO, Opera seems to be the bastard child of all developers. So I don’t really see it taking off either. No more so than even Conqueror! No matter how much “better” either browser is, developers simply offer no overwhelming reason to even download them. (FYI: For those of you who have never walked the wild side and tried a Linux distro, Conqueror still seems to be alive and well.)

    So here’s what I see the lineup to be by/in 2012:

    #1 – Chrome (Despite people unwittingly signing their souls over to the Devil this will probably win.)

    #2 – IE9 (Again, people don’t seem to care who they get their browser from even if it were Adolf Hitler!)

    #3 – Firefox (This rating will decline without some really cool new “wow” factor since the developers don’t seem able to learn from their past and can’t seem to move away from code bloat. This rating may even be optimistic!)

    #4 / #5 – Safari/Opera – It’s too close to tell which will win. (However, the advantage does seem to be with Safari since it’s already on everything ever made by Apple that connects to the Internet.)

    That’s how I see it. Then again, my name is not “Nostradamus” either.

  21. Steve O

    Opera, once a word meaning fat ladies and guys singing stuff I can’t understand NOW means SPEED AND POWER!

    Go Opera!

  22. jon_hill987

    I can’t stand chrome, it is just far too basic. Firefox for me.

  23. Luke Rogerson

    Really think Firefox 4 has it over all the other browsers at the moment.

  24. Woot

    I just hope Firefox will fix the damn memory usage issue.

  25. stovo

    Opera for sure.

    Firefox is like one of those girls from high school that developed early. I know because I was in love! Got my printable 8 million downloads certificate, bragged to all my friends etc..

    But now … she’s fat and unattractive.

    You guys can enjoy her all you want! I’m happy (and disease free) in my Opera niche.

  26. Andrew

    Firefox actually has the lowest memory usage out of all browsers (at least the nightly/beta builds). It is all the add-ons that can bump up the memory usage considerably

    My vote is for both Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome. Which will come out on top is dependent on how much Mozilla improves Firefox with the following releases otherwise Google is currently in the lead towards having the greatest influence in 2011.

    Regardless I will be sticking with Firefox (nightly builds) unless Google allows for proper ad/tracker/flash/cookie blocking extensions and solves other privacy issues. Until then SRWare Iron will remain my backup browser.

  27. Todd

    Victorious at what? All these browsers will still be around after this year so what is considered victory? Kind of a silly poll when you don’t state what it being polled.

  28. Akshay

    I strongly dislike those people who bitch and bitch about Google’s privacy record. The fact is, Google having access to a bit of your data isn’t going to make our world a post-apocalyptic hell. Get over yourselves. Nobody cares about your data – all they want is to offer you a better service and make a few quid.

    I mean, honestly, your data is not that important. It’s irrelevant, as no matter what happens, people will still use Chrome and Google search, and Google will get that data. Get over yourselves.

  29. Gouthaman Karunakaran

    Voted for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

    Google Chrome will continue to improve in Market share and I already see a lot of non-savvy users adopting it.

    Mozilla Firefox has planned a lot of releases this year, that should probably give them a lot of publicity and they’ll try and keep the momentum going.

    It’ll be interesting to see Opera mature

  30. Anyone

    Akshay wrote:

    I strongly dislike those people who bitch and bitch about Google’s privacy record. The fact is, Google having access to a bit of your data isn’t going to make our world a post-apocalyptic hell. Get over yourselves. Nobody cares about your data – all they want is to offer you a better service and make a few quid.

    I mean, honestly, your data is not that important. It’s irrelevant, as no matter what happens, people will still use Chrome and Google search, and Google will get that data. Get over yourselves.

    Spoken like a true VICTIM!

    I suppose we all should just line up like lemmings now shouldn’t we?

  31. Kush

    IE 9

  32. Gamba46

    FF sure has been my favorite browser thanks to its awesome add-ons + the new minimalistic layout,
    yet I have this feeling that eventually all of them will be miraculously supported by chrome, and will work even faster. But, until then, FF 4 is the best browser for me.

  33. UUUnicorn

    If anyone here loves Google Chrome’s speed, but you want even more security, look up SRWare Iron–it uses the same Chromium code as Chrome, but it is much more secure.

  34. JB88

    Are we predicting the decline and fall of Firefox this year? Has Chrome achieved enough momentum to take Firefox’s mantle and beat IE marketshare instead?

    Here’s my only problem with Firefox: hogging system resources. Firefox only acts slow during initial startup, but after that, it works on my computer just as fast as Chrome.

    My bout with Chrome: it’s too simple. I understand Google’s aim to make their products easy for the masses and don’t want to trap the end-user with their tech lingo or mumbo-jumbo. I’ve seen it in their commercials on new Gmail capabilities, and Google TV. Very graphic for the average Joe to understand. That’s fine by me, nothing wrong with it, but with a browser destined to beat IE and compete with Firefox, I think it needs more controllability for the user.

    What I really love about Firefox is what I can do with it in terms of history management, opening a new window, etc. Chrome barely has those options. I take a look at preferences, and it’s not as neat to look at (which tab to go to, like Security, Bookmarks, General like in Firefox or Safari). I go to “Under the Hood”, check out what’s there, then click on “Content Settings” and “Clear Browsing Data”. And I feel…there’s not enough options. There needs to be more. (e.g. Why can’t I just close my browser and it automatically clears my history like Firefox can?) And it looks a little disorganized. If I want to open my own URL I have to go to “Basics” and the options are there. (e.g. Why can’t I open my home page when I want a new window?)

    The Chrome team has been busy churning out new versions (major ones, not x.1, etc.) just for small changes. So in reality, they should be at Chrome 3.1, because Chrome 9 doesn’t look like what it should be. They have a lot of work to do if they want to compete with Firefox and gain that marketshare over IE. They’re just not there yet. I really like what Chrome offers, but it just needs more.

    My ideal browser is that it works like Chrome with its omnibox and search tags and a lite browser, while having all the options that Firefox has that you can modify to your liking, without the system resource hog that Firefox has. Oh, and make a better Adblock for Chrome too. :P

  35. csw21

    Some rave about Chrome but I think Firefox continues to leave it standing.

  36. Omar Hafiz

    Always ahead, Always Firefox.

    I always use Firefox, although it isn’t as fast as Chrome but it’s stable, versatile and feature-rich. Not everything I need in Firefox Chrome offers to me.

    Chrome or Opera is my secondary browser.

  37. Aurimas

    Chrome is best in speed category.

  38. FHS Tech Administrator

    I think that Chrome is probably beat out Firefox and Opera. Opera because it’s bloated and Firefox because it seems to be going downhill to me.
    When it comes time I’ll switch the school computers from Firefox 3.6.3 to Chrome.

  39. Oogolie

    IE is laughable. Chrome laughs at privacy. And Opera and Safari…well, they’re all right. But the best of the bunch will always be, for me, Firefox.

    I dislike how ppl are saying Chrome is faster. Speed is relative. If you got a good computer, then the speed between Chrome and Firefox is pretty much indistinguishable. And even then, speed shouldn’t be the deciding factor in choosing a browser.

    For me, privacy is my number one concern in choosing the best browser. I cannot live without Adblock+, NoScript, Better Privacy, and Ghostery. I use StatCounter on my blog and it’s shocking how much information I can gather on my visitors. With little more digging and the aid of Google’s map service, I can locate their home and stalk them if I wanted to. Ick.

    Someone mentioned about Chrome’s being the best for its real estate screen, well you can easily accomplished the same in Firefox using extensions:

    That’s another thing I like about Firefox, which is its basic install. I prefer installing features one extension at a time. I dislike having bells and whistles that I’m never going to use, that will just annoy me, and that will waste my space.

  40. John Chorley

    I do like Chrome’s speed, and performance. However I still love using Firefox, in fact I am using the FF4 Beta and I like it. Mainly because of all the extensions for firefox, although you can get extensions for chrome. I think the Chrome has a limited ammount of extensions compared to FireFox.

  41. Cisco Guy

    Rockmelt all the way, it’s in beta right now and built on the Chrome platform but it is great for people like myself who travel a lot and like to keep in contact with friends and family.

  42. anndtman

    chrome is sluggish on my system. I have used FF for years and find no fault with it. Installed Chrome and have to wait and wait and wait for it to load. Once it it up. I got no problem with it. Just not my thing.

  43. enigmAZ


  44. gerry roush

    I like the way Firefox works, like the way you can manage search engines
    and the way can bookmark pages.
    I like the way I can customize and choose what add ons I want.
    I tried opera and don’t like it , to me it was confusing.
    I don’t see where Google Chrome is any faster than Firefox
    I hope they don’t mess it up when they release Firefox 4

    Firefox wins !

  45. johnd1


  46. Kastaldi

    I’m going with Chrome too. Thin, no frills, I think that a browser MUST be only a browser. Yes, I know it’s handy to have emails and other apps integrated into the browser but I think size & speed count much more. That’s why I dropped Opera years ago. Get yourself an email client, look outside the window if you’re asking yourself what is the weather like or whatever you need but please do not put crap in my Chrome :) (of course, I’m not talking about extensions, they are still valid)

  47. Ha-ha-ha

    Any Linux joke-question: Why should / How can I use IE when I have Firefox? :)
    I vote for Firefox, but in the whole world are many decent users (or beginners) who still use IE.
    I know, IE it’s not the best, but it’s still the most used browser…

  48. stovo

    @ FHS Tech Administrator

    Opera installed size is 10meg vs Firefox’s 27meg(no additional plugins installed). So how is Opera “bloated” ?

  49. MONKEYKING1337


    Since the poll is about who is the winner of the next year.. its chrome for sure, its well marketed, its fresh and clean.
    I’m not using it, because Google seems to be way to… dirty, no matter how good it will become, they are always other decent alternatives.

    I’m using Opera, I don’t know why guys says its “bloated” but its running WAY faster then Firefox.
    I’ve used FireFox for few years, and indeed, it is better then Internet explorer, but it doesn’t get anywhere closer to opera in speed & features.
    I don’t need bloated browser (firefox) & bloated addons (for firefox) when I can have a powerful fast browser (opera) and well made softwares (that are much better then firefox addons)

  50. asdas

    i like using maxthon2 / maxthon3

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