Surprisingly, it also soundly beat the newest entrant to appear in our poll – the post-Snowden privacy poster boy, the Tor browser.
The Tor browser, which uses Firefox as its base, is designed to be the last word in privacy and security but it seems the message isn’t out there yet; it scored so few votes (6%) that it ended up making up the numbers in our ‘other’ category.
We’ve run our trustworthy browser poll at about the same time of the year, three years in a row now. Each time we’ve asked, “Which browser do you trust?” and each time the majority of you have answered emphatically: Firefox.
Of course this isn’t a scientific study, it’s a collection of web polls, and the result doesn’t mean that Firefox is more trustworthy than Chrome or Tor (or Opera, or anything else for that matter), only that the people who filled in our poll think it is.
And that’s important.
Browsers are our gateway to the web and a critically important part of the way we ensure our privacy and security online.
Most of us aren’t going to consult Bugtraq or pore over independent speed tests when we choose our browser though. Some, perhaps many, will follow the recommendation of a person we trust on IT matters or pick one based on our perception of the browser and the company that makes it.
If you want to get online then you need to choose a browser you trust or live with one that you don’t.
It seems like many of you do exactly that.
We’ve always suspected that a large number of Internet Explorer users are using a browser they don’t trust because it’s a choice forced upon them by their corporate IT departments.
This is evident in a ‘trust gap’, the difference between the proportion of votes the software gets in our trustworthy browser poll and proportion of users who visit that poll using that browser.
Internet Explorer received fewer that 3% of the votes but was used by 11.9% of the people who visited our 2015 poll, giving a ‘trust gap’ of -9.2 percentage points.
What’s surprising is that the ‘trust gap’ for Chrome is even larger than Internet Explorer.
In fact, of the browsers used by more than a handful of visitors, Firefox is consistently the only browser with a positive score:
Browser Trust Gap
Firefox has soundly beaten Chrome over three polls in three years, but during that period the number of people visiting our polls using Chrome has increased and the number using Firefox has decreased.
Perhaps Firefox users are just more willing to fill in online polls or maybe we’re just learning to live with software we don’t trust.