The list of web browser possibilities out there is quite vast.
After looking at the usual main stream offerings like Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera and Apple Safari, it might be worth your while to consider some of the lesser know alternatives.
I had a look at four of the lesser know offering and was pleasantly surprised to see that they rivalled and surpassed the mainstream offerings in many ways.
Sea Monkey (www.seamonkey-project.org)
Sea Monkey is an evolvement from the once popular Netscape Navigator. It offers the same features that Netscape offered, way back in the early days of the Internet. Features Internet browser, email & newsgroup client with an included web feed reader, HTML editor, IRC chat and web development tools. Tabbed browsing is also a feature. The browser is a community based effort to develop an all-in-one internet application suite. Sea Monkey uses much of the same Mozilla source code which powers such successful siblings as Firefox, Thunderbird, Camino, Sunbird and Miro.
Flock is listed as the social web browser. It is also built on the same code that Firefox uses. Flock supports fifteen localised settings, which include different languages. The browser is geared to allow for social web integration. Its support of Web 2.0 is vast. The idea is to allow for quick access to social networking offerings such as Twitter and Facebook. Popular blog sites are also available. Mail offerings such as Gmail can also be accessed. Photos can also be uploaded to sites like Picasa. All of these and more are available through a handy side bar. All in all, when looking at the social networking features that Flock has, it begs the question, why have the big names not caught on?
Keeping it light is the name of the game here. Not hogging system resources makes the little known browser k-meleon (chameleon) a veritable speed demon. When comparing loading times to other browsers, complex pages load up faster than IE or Firefox. Text and graphics appear at almost the same speed. During the installation of the browser, there is a pre-loader that increases browser load times by keeping part of the browser’s code in memory permanently. The interface operates in the same manner as other browsers. The shortcut keys follow the Firefox pattern, allowing for ease of use. But the real value is in the customisation options available. Multiple user profiles can be created to that each user can utilise a unique browser configuration.
And then lastly, but most definitely not least is Maxthon, the king of the custom browser. Originally created in China, Maxthon redefines the browsing experience. The standard title bar is removed, to allow for more space. When compared to K-Meleon, Maxthon it is even more customisable. You can remove almost everything to just leave you with the web page.
This essentially makes the browser even sparser than Chrome. It is ideal for small notebook screens. Keyboard control of the browser is also great. Complete skinning is also an option. When closing down the browser, it remembers your last place and brings you back there on restart.
When comparing all of these offering, the major browsers should start to do some reflection on improvement.