5 Reasons to Use Two Browsers

by Krishna on February 26, 2007

I have both Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 and Mozilla Firefox on the computers I use. There are many reasons why you may want to have and use both browsers. Here are five reasons:

  1. Different Sites Don’t Render Properly: Some websites work only in IE, while others are built only for Firefox. This happens when the development team prefers a particular platform and didn’t have or didn’t want to spend resources on getting it working on the other platform. Most of the issues I encounter have to do with JavaScript errors and CSS layouts, rendering the site useless in one browser. However the other browser works just fine. In some cases, the website’s functionality is fine in both browsers, but it is faster in another. For example, Google Reader works much faster in Firefox.
  2. Security: Regardless of anti-virus and anti-spy software, it is useful to keep one browser for visiting untrusted sites and the other for critical things like bank transactions. Since IE is known for ActiveX exploits, it makes sense to use Firefox for browsing search results, especially if you are searching for results on “ActiveX exploits”. 🙂 This is not as critical as it used to be. IE 7.0 does a much better job on security. Also if you have protection software like Norton Internet Security, it has an add-on in your browser for displaying whether a website can be trusted. Still, you never know…
  3. Forgetting Saved Passwords: When you have the browser remember your password for certain sites, those sites appear differently than if you were logged in. For example, when I am editing our product blog on WordPress, it shows a toolbar at the top for “My Account” and “My Dashboard”. This prevents me from seeing what it would look like if someone else is viewing that page. So I use the other browser to view the website. This is the same for Blogger too. They have the Edit icons all over the place when I am logged in.
  4. Google Search History: I like it when my Google Personalized HomeInteresting Items for You” gadget offers me suggestions on Searches, Pages, Gadgets and Videos based on my past queries. For example, they had this video of Matt Cutts and an ASP.NET video. The problem is that I don’t always search on technology. Like for instance, I did a search for Vietnamese food in Nashua, NH. That confuses the engine and I have to go and delete those searches, which can be a pain. Yes, I can log out, but then I have to login back for other Google services. Much easier to load the other browser and do searches.
  5. Minor Conveniences: Firefox offers an easy Google-Suggest-like search box. The search for text capability is dynamic. You can easily close tab windows without clicking them first. The add-ons are better. Internet Explorer 7.0 offers some more screen real estate. The website source opens up in Notepad. The RSS feed reader has certain interesting capabilities. Stuff like that.

There were very good reasons why you should have used only Firefox when IE 6.0 was around. But now, the two browsers are almost comparable. Since there is hardly any cost in downloading, installing and keeping both of them on your computer, it is probably helpful to figure out what you can do with the situation, instead of spending time researching which browser is better.

Let us look at this way: Say you have a sports car and a family sedan in your garage. You may prefer one over the other. But isn’t it worthwhile that you use each of them in some capacity or the other, considering that you own them and they are lying on your property? Yes, use one more, but maybe there is something you can do with the other.

Same here.


Janice March 4, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Great post... and here I thought I was the only one who consistently used 2 different browsers....


Don Wesley April 27, 2009 at 1:52 am

I tested the load time on the reader.google.com and besides for two different looking pages coming up in either browser, IE 8.0 loaded faster (handtimed). I hear this a lot that Firefox is faster. But after testing 10 random sites from the top 50 sites of the internet I found IE to beat Firefox 100% of the time, by a as little as half a second to as much as 3x as fast. So why is it that everyone says this? Just curious.

Krish April 27, 2009 at 9:39 am

Don, that is odd to me because I find IE 8 the slowest among the browsers - IE 7 was faster. Chrome seems to be the fastest browser both in startup time and site loading time. IE 8 is a better browser than IE 7, all things considered, but speed doesn't seem to be its strong point, at least for me.

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