Google Chrome most-used browser by students, Safari second

CIT tracked how many students accessed Portal the Sunday before school began, and recorded what browser they were using.  File photo
CIT tracked how many students accessed Portal the Sunday before school began, and recorded what browser they were using. File photo

More than 40 percent of Calvin students use Google Chrome as their primary Internet browser, according to new numbers from Calvin Information Technology.

“I love Google Chrome,” said junior Elena Buis. “It’s super fast and it has lots of great applications. You can use the ‘incognito window’ and it remembers your tabs. It has a lot of cool things that others don’t have.”

Safari, a browser exclusively for Macs, followed Chrome with 28 percent of students. Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox followed with 16 and 13 percent, respectively.

The data comes from an analysis of on-campus users who accessed the student home page on Portal on Sunday, Sept. 2. Matt Jeltema, associate director of information systems,  called this data a “very accurate” depiction of all students’ usage.

“We run Google Analytics to help us track how people are going to the website and how effective the website is,” said Jeltema.

Chrome users on Calvin’s campus are not alone.

Chrome is the most popular browser worldwide, garnering 34 percent of users. Explorer attracts 32 percent, while Firefox and Safari gather 23 and 8 percent, respectively, according to Statcounter, a web visitor analysis company.

“Chrome was just about tied with Firefox last year,” said Jeltema. “Chrome’s growth is at Firefox’s expense. Explorer and Safari have held pretty consistent.”

Sophomore Joel Altena is part of the 13 percent of Calvin students who haven’t given up on Firefox.

“I know it. It’s fast and reliable,” he said. “Chrome is user-friendly, but I don’t feel comfortable enough to use it over Firefox.”

Although Altena and Buis disagree over browser choice, they both had harsh words for the 16 percent of students who use Internet Explorer.

“Fail. Epic fail,” said Altena about the standard browser for Microsoft. “It’s just old. People don’t use it anymore. They should learn how to use Firefox or Google Chrome.”

“It’s the worst,” Buis argued. “It’s really slow and it’s old. I feel like it hasn’t been updated in forever. I used it in middle school. It no longer has cool appeal. Chrome does.”

Junior Min Lim, however, defended his use of Internet Explorer.

“If I go on Korean websites, [Explorer] is actually faster. I do it every day,” he explained.

“All my bookmarks are on [Explorer],” he continued. “I don’t want to manually switch to Google Chrome. I’m conservative, I guess. I don’t like changes.”

Despite its lack of “cool appeal,” Explorer remains the most common browser in the United States, according to Statcounter. Explorer beat out Chrome, 42 to 23 percent.

Sophomore Ashley Holmes recently made the switch from Explorer to Chrome.

“I used Internet Explorer for years, and someone introduced me to Chrome and I was like, ‘what have I been missing?’” she said.

“Explorer is slow,” she countered. “The speed is just polar opposite. The browser it pulls up is dated and old-fashioned.”

Jeltema himself has used Chrome for about two years.

“Chrome is easy and faster. It’s more reliable,” he said. “I used Firefox, [but] in my opinion, the quality has just gone down. I’m a PC user, so Safari hasn’t really been a question.”

Calvin computers have Internet Explorer on all PCs, Safari on all Macs and Firefox on both. Chrome is currently being installed on both.

About the Author

Ryan Struyk

Ryan Struyk was the Chimes editor in chief for fall 2013. He's a senior studying mathematics and political science. Being a journalist means being both student and teacher of the world, and that’s why his job is the best one out there.

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