Best Browsers for Research

Author
Elly
Date
Apr 22, 2024 09:28 PM
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best-browsers-for-research
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Description
Best Browsers for Research
When it comes to online research, finding and using the right tech tools can make all the difference. There are tons of specialised productivity apps available but, in our opinion, the web browser is the most fundamental component to your toolkit. It’s where your research happens and, if you manage to choose the right one, your work instantly becomes a whole lot easier.
So, as researchers and designers of our own browser, we’ve compiled a list of the very best research browsers to help you make the right choice.

What is a browser for research?

We all know Google Chrome but these days many more web browsers are available. Browsers for research are web browsers which focus on helping you to search effectively online, track your research, compare data, organise information and assist your note taking.
They are internet browsers built with tools to assist researchers, writers and academics.

Why is using a research browser so important?

The internet is an amazing resource for researchers. Academic catalogues, like Jstor, ResearchGate, WorldCat and Elsevier, and world-class historical archives are always available at the click of a mouse.
But the internet is also an incredibly distracting place, filled with visual noise and online ads. Browsers that are focused on minimising distractions can help you keep your focus and get your research done.
When you’re deep-diving on a subject online, keeping track of your research is also key. It’s all-too-easy to end up with a clutter of open tabs or poorly-organised, forgotten bookmarks. Or you end up searching through your history, trying to find that elusive article. That’s why you need a browser that helps you organize your tabs and research.

Best browsers for research

Now you understand the importance of choosing the right research browser, let’s discuss the best options available to you. After careful review, here is our list.

Horse Browser

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In our opinion, Horse Browser is the best browser for research. This innovative, new browser beats other browsers on this list, hands down. OK, maybe we’re a bit biased but here’s why.
The other browsers we’re recommending all offer ways to organise & group your tabs and, while this is welcome & useful, it doesn’t really solve researchers’ problems. Because grouped tabs are still easily cluttered-up or forgotten, just like bookmarks.
So let’s see what makes Horse Browser so different…
KEY RESEARCH FEATURES
  • Unique Trails Feature: This feature marks out Horse Browser as our go-to research browser. Horse Browser replaces tabs with its own navigation system, called Trails. Every time you click on a link, Horse Browser opens a new page on the Trail, creating a list of nested pages in one easy-to-read vertical layout. Trails become your tabs, bookmarks and history in one. You can see exactly how you reached a particular page, allowing you to keep track of your online rabbit holes and make valuable insights & connections along the way. You can also drag-and-drop, rename, delete and customise your Trails to create your own filing system for your research. For us, it’s a revelatory way of conducting online research.
  • Autosaves Your Pages: One of our favourite features. Horse Browser autosaves your pages, just like a Notes App. Everything you need is still there, whenever you re-open your browser, even after an update or shut down. You’ll never lose articles or important references again.
  • Focus-friendly Design: Horse Browser has a collapsible sidebar. So if you’re doing deep-focus work, like reading a long research paper, you can collapse the sidebar and give yourself distraction-free screentime. Horse also offers an extremely effective in-built Ad-Blocker and Dark Reader, which prevent intrusive ads, help you keep your focus and rest tired eyes, while you’re researching.
  • Search Features: Horse Browser supports a wide range of search engines, allowing users to customise their research experience according to their preferences. It also provides a handy Find in Page tool, which can be used across different pages. This is an extremely useful tool when you need to compare data across a variety of sources.
Pricing: $99 lifetime. This is the only paid-for browser on the list. But we genuinely think the cost is worth it for Horse’s unique Trails feature and life-time access.
Being a user-supported business, Horse Browser doesn’t collect or sell users’ telemetry data. We believe we need more user-funded models, like this.

Microsoft Edge

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Microsoft’s browser, Edge, has some useful features for academics, as well as some new AI tools, and we’ve rounded up our choice of its top tools for you here.
KEY RESEARCH FEATURES
  • Collections: Microsoft Edge’s Collections feature allows you to save webpages by dragging and dropping tabs into a Collection. Your tabs appear in a list with thumbnails for quick, easy reference. Collections can be accessed and shared anytime and include a useful notes feature. That said, Collections can quickly fall prey to the very same issue as Bookmarks. They’re easily lost, cluttered up and forgotten.
  • Immersive Reader: The Immersive Reader feature allows users to view a distraction-free version of online text and has a ‘read aloud’ function, with audio reading of the page. You can also alter the text to your preference.
  • AI tools: Edge offers an AI chatbot in its sidebar, known as Co-pilot, which can help you automatically create citations.
  • PDF Reader: Edge’s PDF Reader allows you to highlight and make notes directly into PDFs, which comes in handy when reviewing academic papers.
Pricing: Free but, unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Despite some unique security features, Microsoft Edge has received criticism due to data collection, privacy concerns and even for injecting ads into users’ desktop operating systems.

Vivaldi

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Known as the most customisable browser out there, Vivaldi can be fine-tuned to suit you. That said, customisation takes time and can also end up in a distracted user experience.
KEY FEATURES
  • Customisable tab organization: Designed to be one of the most customisable browsers out there, Vivaldi’s tab management tools are aligned with this approach. Tab stacking allows users to create groups of tabs in two-level stacks, while tab tiling gives a splitscreen view. And users can choose between vertical, accordion or compact mode to view their tabs. While Vivaldi’s customisation makes it easy to personalise your organisation, we also see potential for things to get pretty cluttered, pretty quickly!
  • In-built notes: Vivaldi has in-built notes, including a new ‘append to note’ tool, which allows you to highlight specific text and add it to a pre-existing note. Notes can be synced across devices.
  • Reader View: Like Microsoft Edge, Vivaldi offers a distraction-free Reader, which removes ads and other visual clutter when reading an online article.
Pricing: Free… But, again, there’s no free lunch here… While Vivaldi doesn’t track its users or sell data to the same extent as some other browsers, it does earn revenue through search engine and bookmark partnerships.

What makes a good browser for researchers / what to look for?

When choosing a browser for research, there are various factors to consider, like cost, privacy, and ease of use. Maybe you’re keen to look into cutting-edge AI tools. Perhaps there are specific factors in your workflow to consider. Do you need to be able to annotate PDF documents on the regular?
Personally, we would recommend the value of paying for the premium research tool on the list, Horse Browser. As our first choice, Horse Browser outperforms the rest for deep-diving online and organising your research, thanks to its unique Trails feature. And, as a bonus, it also values your privacy.

Conclusion

Research browsers are focused on helping you to search effectively online, track your research, compare data, organise information and assist your note taking. Choosing the right research browser can make a huge difference to your productivity and organization as a researcher.
To try out Horse Browser, check out more information here.