The greenest internet browser would be the one that consumes the least amount of virtual memory on your computer, essentially the one that makes your computer work the least. Right now, Firefox and Google Chrome (which is based off of the same programming platform as Firefox) are the two internet browsers that use the least amount of virtual memory on your computer.
A recent study has shown that Internet Explorer 8 is the most energy efficient web browser, followed closely by Firefox. The least efficient of the most popular browsers is Safari. In this study, energy efficiency was measured as hours of battery life while web surfing.
I don’t think using any particular internet browser is more or less environmentally friendly than any other. Internet use has a huge carbon footprint in general, estimated about 868 billion kilowatt hours of electricity per year to run the Internet, associated PCs, routing infrastructure, and phone networks. Of this, about 112.5 Billion kWh are used to power ‘data centers’ which host the websites that you visit. How green your internet browsing is depends on how much electricity your machine uses and how green your phone network is, but a huge portion of it is out of your control and depends on where the sites you are visiting are hosted.
That said, if you use a browser that consumes less power and makes your computer work less, you could be said to be reducing that massive footprint at least a little. Firefox and Chrome use the least memory on your computer, especially compared to Internet Explorer.
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