A lot of the following browsers ship with addons that you would otherwise have to obtain yourself, so they may make for a fresh breath of air.
Since Google Chrome is a fork of the open-source browser project, Chromium, anything that applies to Chromium can be applied to Google Chrome, while not everything that pertains to Chrome can be applied to Chromium.
For instance, to illustrate the very first point, both Chromium and Google Chrome offer Search Suggest, which presents you with a list of suggestions as you pause when you’re typing in your search query. An area where the two browsers differ is in crash reporting or usage statistics; by default, sending these reports is opt-in and disabled in Chromium. Chromium also comes without a PDF Viewer and Adobe Flash Player, but all is not lost since you can actually utilize any of the extensions in Chrome’s Web Store in Chromium.
Acquiring this browser takes a bit more than just finding the Download section and clicking on the installer link. You can follow these instructions here or you can use the unofficial, portable version on SourceForge.
Chromium-Based Browsers: SRWare Iron & RockMelt
SRWare Iron [Cross-Platform]
If you like Google Chrome’s speed, but are concerned with privacy, SRWare’s Iron web browser might be for you. Since Google Chrome and SRWare Iron are based on the open source Chromium project, you’ll spot few differences. On the internal side of course, Iron doesn’t include Chrome’s information-collecting features, such as URL-tracker, error reporting, etc. Aside from those internal differences, Iron works pretty much the way you’re used to in Chrome. Chrome extensions and themes will also work on Iron, just like Chromium.
RockMelt 2 [Windows + Mac] + iPhone Sync
If you’re big on sharing interesting news on Facebook, Twitter and/or email, RockMelt (in beta) might be worth a look. It’s similar to Flock, the social browser derived from Mozilla Firefox, in that it targets the die-hard social media addict so it integrates notifications from sites like Facebook and Twitter. It comes with a few tricks of its own though, the iPhone app [iTunes link], which syncs your items marked to read later, as well as bookmarks.
Though RockMelt doesn’t support Google Sync, you can sync your RockMelt browsers across PCs and Macs with your Facebook account.
Wyzo 3 [Windows + Mac]
A few things have changed since we last reviewed Mozilla-based Wyzo, but it remains the most useful browser for the frequent downloader since it comes with FireDownload, a download accelerator, and FireTorrent, an extension that turns this browser into a torrent client. One new feature in Wyzo 3 is the inclusion of SkipScreen, the extension that allows you to skip waiting screens from popular file-sharing sites, such as MegaUpload and the like, while it no longer seems to ship with CoolIris and FireGestures.
Maxthon 3.0 [Windows/Android]
We first took a look at Maxthon in 2008, where we noted that Maxthon began as an extension of Internet Explorer and so, it uses the same rendering engine. These days, Maxthon supports both the Trident rendering engine (which is the layout engine for IE, so you can still view IE-optimized websites) as well as Webkit, which powers Google Chrome and Safari and renders Maxthon’s Ultra Mode, loading pages almost instantly.
In addition to its dual display engines, Maxthon also has a sea of nice features, such as mouse gestures, bookmark sync with Maxthon Passport, speed dial, popup blocker, online notepad, RSS reader, instant translator, screen capturing tools, and resource sniffer, which detects all video, image, and audio links on a website. The Android app also has a few of these features, namely the RSS reader, speed dial, download manager and gestures.
Opera 11 [Cross-Platform]
In addition to extensions, Opera contains a few more impressive features that make it stand out from the crowd. With Opera, you don’t need another desktop mail program, torrent client, or web server, as Opera offers these services. Since Opera also offers browsers for mobile phones and tablets, you can use Opera Link to sync your bookmarks, speed dial, custom searches, etc. Opera users also get a free space on the My Opera community, that they can use as a blog or to share files.
One additional cool feature that we should mention is Tab Stack, which is one among many other tab management features Opera has, and can help you not only group tabs, but also streamline your workflow.
Internet Explorer 9 [Windows 7/Vista]
IE9 is heaps better than its predecessors, and sports a more minimalistic look, but perhaps the biggest feature it has over other browsers is, without a doubt, its integration with the Windows OS. Jumplists definitely take advantage of sites like Twitter and Facebook, which behave more like applications, and make some functions more seamless.
Have a favorite new web browser that wasn’t listed? Share it with us in the comments!
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