I am a web developer by trade and I always have all the latest browsers at my ready. I try and keep up with them because I want to make sure whatever I am doing is consistent across them all. Now a days that concern is becoming less and less a problem as standards are starting to take more of a hold, with the exception of supporting some earlier versions of IE.
I know you have seen, as I have, comparisons of IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari talking about which one is faster and what features they provide, but I think some of this charting is a little off balance. I find that my time is divided between several OSes including Windows, Mac, and Linux so if I was choosing a default browser that would leave IE out of the question. I know that Windows (collectively) is the most popular desktop, but IE only runs on Windows and for some IE is not an option. (IE9 is not an option if you run XP even)
With the OS a factor, IE is out of the question and has been for me at least for quite some time. So, I am left with Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. Safari isn’t a bad choice, but if you are not running a Mac or an iDevice, it feels like an app that is running in an emulator…sort of the same way I feel when I run Windows apps on Linux with WINE. I like a native feel, and I just don’t get that.
Now I am down to two, Firefox and Chrome. I really see these as mostly equals at this point, with a couple of differences that sets them apart. First off, and I know not everyone cares about printing, but I have to give Firefox an edge here. Chrome does not provide print previews, so at print time you have to choose wisely. I do have some apps that rely on printing at work, so this is something I noticed. I read somewhere that Chrome does not provide previews because of licensing of the PDF engine is problematic (citation needed) I am not buying that, Goole includes Flash in Chrome as a partnership with Adobe, certainly they would get this done. (Update: I just read that print previews are coming in Chrome 11)
Both Firefox and Chrome are both pretty much feature peers I almost have to call this a tie. I really love them both. Firefox is very flexible and configurable. Chrome is smooth and polished, it’s hard to choose. They both have syncing services which is important to me now. However, I will give Chrome a slight edge because to me it seems a little quicker.
Note: I am not an Opera hater! I like Opera, but just never really used it for day to day.