Are You Browsing the Internet in Black and White?


At home and at work, web browsers are our main gateways into the internet, where we spend much of our lives. The work of government is certainly no exception—governments publish a huge amount of data on the web, and they rely on the Web’s vast stores of information to make decisions.

Like all technology, web browsers constantly evolve. Using an outdated web browser not only makes you vulnerable to viruses and other security risks—it also gives you a subpar internet experience, not unlike watching TV in black and white.

There are a number of web browsers out there. The most common are Chrome, Edge, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. If you use Microsoft Internet Explorer, the one thing you should take away from this blog post is the importance of updating your browser. Updating is particularly relevant if you use older versions of Internet Explorer (IE) such as IE6, IE7, IE8, IE9, and IE10, as even Microsoft no longer supports these browsers.

IE is dangerous. Internet Explorer was for a long time the most popular web browser. Its popularity created demand for internet viruses developed to exploit its security flaws. That reason alone should be enough for you to change browser. However, updating to IE11 won’t do the trick either, as it is highly vulnerable to malware.

Another major reason to stop using Internet Explorer is that the vast majority of web developers no longer build websites and web applications to work in Internet Explorer. If Microsoft doesn’t support their own browser product, nobody else will. If you use IE, you are likely not seeing all functionalities of a website—if you can even use it at all.

In a way, using IE is like browsing the internet in black and white. Technological development has surpassed the fundamental capabilities of Internet Explorer, and there is no fix. Even Microsoft decided to abandon IE and start from scratch with their latest web browser, Edge. Still not convinced? Here are more reasons why you shouldn’t be using Internet Explorer.

So which browser should you be using instead? The short answer is Edge or Chrome.

The case for Edge. Edge is Microsoft’s latest browser, released in 2015. It’s an evergreen browser, which means you will always have the latest version and security patches—no more annoying update prompts. The Edge browser is highly supportive of HTML5 accessibility features, so it is a great option for people and organizations that rely on assistive technology for visually impaired individuals.

The case for Chrome. Chrome is Google’s web browser. Like Edge, it’s an evergreen browser so you always have the latest version. It’s the most popular browser out there with about two-thirds market share in mid-2016. If you log in, the browser history and webpages will follow you on your mobile devices. Chrome is a good option if you use a Mac computer and can’t use Edge.

Other browsers include Firefox, Opera, and Safari. There are many other things to consider if you want to go into the nitty-gritty of web browser comparison, including speed and feature sets. Just note that the web browsers develop so fast that reviews are quickly outdated.

Whatever you choose, it’s time to see the internet in a whole new light by updating to a better browser.

Adnan Mahmud is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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