How many web browsers are on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad? One? Certainly. Apple’s Safari is the second most used browser and the most used browser for the company’s 1-billion or so customers. What else?
The single most popular and most used browser is Google’s Chrome, which also is the second most used browser by Apple’s customers. Why?
First, Chrome is free. Second, Chrome works well with Google’s search engine, also the default search on Safari. Google pays Apple a few billion dollars a year for that privilege.
What’s the problem with that one-two punch of popular browsers?
In their default settings, neither Chrome nor Safari are very private browsers; the latter more so than the former, but since Google remains the default search engine on Safari, it’s easy to criticize Apple’s public stance on privacy.
Google is not your privacy friend.
Why not? Google tracks users as they peruse various websites across the internet. Not only does Google gather information about your search habits, it uses that information to push advertising and promotions to you.
What’s so bad about that? Advertisers want relevant messages, right?
Personal privacy in an online setting not only is difficult to come by, but lack of privacy makes Google rich and you poor. Or, perhaps poorer because the search engine giant and its advertising lackeys make enormous profits from your online browsing habits.
We’re just talking about search, right?
No. Or, at least, not necessarily. Google’s advertising reach is so extensive that it can track your visits to most websites via Google Analytics (which I stopped using on McSolo years ago), which also tracks where you are online.
All that collected data builds something of an identifiable dossier of your online life, and Google and advertisers use that information to promote products and politics.
So, if Safari and Chrome are guilty of being tracking mechanisms for Google, then what browser should be used?
Mozilla’s Firefox is a good start. Not only is it faster that Chrome and Safari, the default settings are far more private, and because Firefox has been around many years, it comes with about all the extensions you could ever require.
Firefox runs on all major platforms and can sync bookmarks between devices.
The up and coming browser that I am fond of using in a private situation is Brave, which is private by default, blocks ads and trackers, and that makes it faster than Safari or Chrome.
I understand where Safari and Chrome have a place for anyone who browses the internet. But, simply put, having another browser that is faster, easier to use, that also blocks ads and trackers, and is free, is of tremendous benefit for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users.