Google knows you. It saves your browser histories, keeps tabs on your YouTube preferences, and if you have a mobile device, Google is able to ping it. Chrome sends this information to its partners who then reach out to you with targeted ads. Couple that with the anticipation that soon Chrome will no longer support popup blockers and other privacy extensions to stop this much tracking and it may be time to part ways with this browser. Here are a few alternatives to Chrome to try out.
Vivaldi has a similar feel as Google Chrome because it uses the same Chromium base code. It imports your settings, histories, and bookmarked pages from your Chrome account so you don't have to manually enter everything in. It's the most customizable web browser, down to the position and look of the browser tabs, and offers a bit more security than Chrome. Google Drive is still accessible from this browser and most Chrome extensions also work with Vivaldi.
This browser is fast, automatically transfers your bookmarks, history, and settings from Chrome, and comes with the Avast internet security browser extension already installed. It earns high scores for stopping malicious files from downloading to your computer and stops you from accidentally accessing phishing schemes and webpages harboring malicious files. Avast Secure Browser comes with its pop-up blocker already enabled and a link to its free antivirus program.
Brave is an open-source browser, which means you can add code yourself and customize the tools available. The base browser is pretty bare, which means there aren't many standard features included, but it also makes this browser impressively fast at navigating to and loading web pages. Because it's built on the Chromium code, Brave looks and functions similar to Chrome.
Closest to Chrome
Opera is a popular alternative to Chrome because it uses the same source code and feels and functions similarly. It's a bit faster than Chrome and several extensions that are designed for Chrome work with Opera, too. Opera doesn't track your online movements quite as Chrome does, so it's better for privacy, but it also doesn't have webpage blocking listed among its security or privacy settings. You can use add-ons to accomplish this, and most Chrome extensions work with Opera.
If you're ready to give up on Chromium altogether, Firefox is the obvious answer. This browser is very secure and after several upgrades is much more user-friendly. It bookmarks pages, stacks tabs and will resume the last pages you had open the last time you had the browser open. Firefox is also one of the best at both stopping malicious downloads and blocking dangerous websites with just its default security settings enabled. Changing these settings gives you more privacy and security.
For Windows 10 users, your desktop came with access to Microsoft Edge. Edge has a clean look and is easy to navigate. It taps into Windows Defender to help ensure your computer doesn't become infected, plus it loads webpages quickly. One neat feature is Notes, which lets you highlight passages on any website and save it for you to read later. Edge, unfortunately, doesn't work with older versions of Windows.
Old school IE
For Internet Explorer enthusiasts, Maxthon is worth considering. This browser looks and works like IE, built using the same base code, but it's still supported with new updates. It's compatbile with older versions of Windows and Windows 10. It reaches older sites that haven't been updated to recognize or support Microsoft Edge. Maxthon has a drag-and-drop feature that lets you grab content from a page and drop it into an IM or email message.
The Onion Routing, or Tor Browser, is a good way to navigate the web without being detected. Unlike a privacy browser, Tor truely blocks your identity, by shielding your IP address while you are online. Instead, anything trying to track you will be shown a random IP address set up by Tor. This browser automatically blocks trackers, ads, and cookies so they can't figuring out who you are, capture browser histories or follow you around the web. This helps cut down on targeted ads.
Some thoughts before making the switch
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Opera is the closest browser we found to Google Chrome, and popular among users, but Vivaldi, which also is built using Chromium source code, is more customizable and faster, which is why it wins over other browsers. Vivaldi makes great use of sidebars to keep this browser less cluttered, and while you can pin icons to your the Vivaldi homepage, it keeps news, weather and other widgets out of the way until you're ready to add them. This browser has stacked tabbed browsing, and comes with Bing as its featured, integrated search engine. There are several privacy settings within Vivaldi, including privacy browsing, which cuts down on the internet trackers, ads and cookies that can capture your browser history.
Like Chrome, you can create an account and have access to a Vivaldi email address, though you can also use your Google One account, including Drive and Gmail, from within this browser. Most Chrome extensions work well with Vivaldi, and there is some syncing abilities so you can access saved websites and files from other desktops. Vivaldi also now offers a mobile version on Android to sync your settings, too, just like Opera.
If you'd like to make a clean break from all Chromium-based browsers all together, Firefox is the top choice. With recent updates, Firefox has become more user friendly and more fast in navigating and loading websites. It supports most of the same extensions offered through Chrome and, in our own web browser tests, Firefox came out on top as the most secure. It recognized and blocked more malicious downloads, dangerous websites and phishing schemes than any other browser.
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Nikki is a commissioned editor for Future Plc covering internet security including antivirus and VPN. With over 18 years of research and writing experience, and 11 years of testing and reviewing internet security solutions, Nikki knows how to dive deep to get the information consumers need to make better buying decisions. She is also a mom to 10 children, and personally uses many of the products she reviews to ensure the safety of her own family.