You’re wrong. There’s a huge difference between web browsers. They’re so much more than a bunch of seemingly identical graphically-illustrated rectangles glowing in front of our faces, a means to our digital ends. They’re the lenses through which we explore the online world. And just like your preferred brand of deodorant or regularly purchased fabric softener, your choice of browser says a lot about you, about you as an individual, about what kind of an individual you are, getting stuff done online.
The granddaddy of Internet. Actually, that’s Netscape, right? I don’t know, that was all a little before my time. You know what? I’m going to start with Firefox.
The RC Cola of web browsers. If RC Cola were still around, south of Binghamton anyway. I went on a trip upstate recently and found this gas station with RC Cola. I was so pumped because, I barely even remember seeing this stuff around when I was a little kid. An alternative cola, finally, I’m not going to be choked out by the big two any longer, not on this road trip anyway, not in this gas station. And I’m not going to have to pay six bucks for some organically local hipster cola either. Let me just crack this open and … hmm … I mean, it doesn’t feel flat, like I feel the bubbles on my tongue, so how does it taste flat? Jeez, that was kind of a let down. Yeah, you know, whatever it was only a dollar anyway, and the gas station was huge, so I wound up just going back inside and grabbing a Mountain Dew.
It’s like, you want Firefox to work so badly. The idea of this sweet looking web browser with that sick orange and blue logo. Even the name – Firefox! – it just makes it feel like when you click on the Internet that it’s going to be this adventure, that the possibilities might truly be endless. But then you open a few tabs, and yes, they were the first browser to use tabs, and you load up your email and your Facebook and then you kind of waste ten minutes and fifteen more minutes looking at this and that and then … I don’t know. It’s still the Internet. Only it’s getting really slow the more I open more tabs. And when Google finally loads so I can try to figure out how to fix the problem, it keeps telling me that there’s a new way to surf the web, faster, even better than Firefox. Come on. Just try it out. You don’t have to commit to anything. Just take a peek.
And so you launch Chrome and immediately it wants you to commit. Just click here and we’ll import everything you were trying to do over in Firefox – Firefox! It doesn’t really sound as cool as it did before. Now it just sounds cute. Quaint. – and not only will we have it all loaded and ready to go, but while we’re at it, we’ll also import all of your Firefox settings. Look, we’ll make it look like Firefox. There. And now we’ll make it look even better. And come on, just let us remember your passwords. We’ll put your Gmail right on your desktop. You might as well just let us activate full screen mode; there’s not much going on outside of Chrome anyway. We’ll let you know. We’ll take care of it.
It’s like, man, I really don’t want to like Chrome. I just imagine a future populated by humans, yeah, humans are still around, but we’re all trapped inside of our houses, our G-houses, and roaming the streets outside are a race of giant robots, and they’re just constantly marching down every block, making sure that everybody’s inside, on their computers, on Chrome. And every time they take a step, these robots are so gigantic that when their feet slam into the pavement, it makes a sound, it sounds like “Chrome! Chrome! Chrome!” But everything updates automatically, it never asks me to shut down and restart to install.
But Chrome spoils you. You spend so much time not having any problems with the Internet at home that when you head to work in the morning, you’re already feeling that pit bubbling up from the depths of your stomach. Those work PCs.
OK, well, maybe if I just type Chrome into IE, Google might come up with a solution here. “Warning: You are about to leave an encrypted page. Are you sure you want to leave this encrypted page? Yes or No.” I don’t know. What does that even mean? Shouldn’t it have warned me when I entered the encrypted page? OK, yes. “Warning: If you exit this page, you will lose all unsaved data. Are you sure you want to …” They’re playing hard ball. OK, new window. Google. Chrome.
“Please contact your network administrator. You have insufficient clearance to make any of the necessary requested system changes.” Well, it was worth a try. Maybe I can take the IT guy out for a beer after work and get him to install Chrome for me. Fucking IE.
But I wind up buying the IT guy more than just a beer. Drinks turn into shots. Everything’s getting a little blurry. How the hell did it get to be past midnight? I’ve got to go. I can barely walk straight. But wait, the IT guy, he’s telling me to come closer, lean in, he’s whispering something in my ear. What’s that? Opera?
Seriously, I’ve never met anybody that uses Opera. It’s what I imagine Mellow Yellow to taste like, or Mr. Pibb, or if you’re tired of my soda analogies, what Carl’s Jr. tastes like to a New Yorker, or what White Castle tastes like to somebody from the Midwest. But whereas Firefox sounds cool and Chrome sounds like it gets shit done, Opera? I don’t know. Nobody knows. Maybe it’s ahead of its time. Or maybe it’s already wildly outdated. Or maybe both.
So yeah, just, you know, do what I do, tell everybody you use Firefox, but secretly use Chrome, and when you’re at work, just go take a really long walk and tell you’re boss you were on the phone with a client, because man, that job sounds terrible. Get out now.
I just realized that I forgot to mention anything about Safari. But whatever, I’ve already written like over a thousand words. And what can I say about Safari anyway? It’s a web browser. They’re all web browsers. Aside from some very, very minor differences, it’s all the same. It’s the Internet.