Saturday, September 20, 2008

Who's the Fairest of Them All? Browser war!

Currently I installed 4 different browsers on my computer: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Safari. If I were to install Opera, I would have 4 of the most popular internet browsers, Chrome is the odd one but perhaps not for long.

The browser war is heating up now. There is a new challenger in town: Google Chrome. I will summarize what I feel and know about each of this 5 browsers below.

Internet Explorer (IE)
I have already updated IE to version 7, there is a new version coming out soon, IE v8. We have all read about the security flaws of older versions of IE, in particular version 4 and version 5. However, although I rarely use IE anymore (seriously, who's not using Firefox daily now?), on the rare occasions that I fire up IE, I can feel that Microsoft has put substantial efforts into improving IE. Version 7 is very stable and fast, it has tabbed browsing support and I regret to say that my IE now looks much cleaner than my Firefox, it has only the necessary toolbars and no other bulky add-on. Let's see what Microsoft can come up with IE v8 :)

Mozilla Firefox
I believe Firefox is the industry standard browser now. One of the reasons why this browser has enjoyed one of the fastest improvement is due to its open source license. Various programmers, users and add-ons builder contribute to the improvement of this browser. Not necessary the best looking browser in terms of interface now, also crashes occasionally. However, Firefox has unrivaled amount of useful add-ons, which makes it extremely powerful and can be customized according to individual users' needs. The no. 1 most popular browser for several consecutive years. Shame to say, I have very much abused the add-ons and installed a few additonal unimportant toolbars, to make my Firefox look bulky and clogged.

The browser names just get weirder and weirder, no? Who know's maybe there will be some new ones called Chocolate Fudge, Elephant Pie or even Ice Lab? OK, I made up all those name but I think the last one is pretty cool, anyone want to develop the name, please ask for my permission. Safari is produced by Apple, and like its other gadgets, the interface of Safari is the most beautiful among all browsers (my opinion). Some independent tests also indicate that Safari may be twice as fast versions of Firefox 2. I don't use it that much, period.

Opera has been pretty successful, look at how it maintained its position as the top 4 most popular browsers despite being in-direct competition with technological giants like Microsoft, Apple and open-sourced Mozilla Foundation (which has enjoyed substantial funding from search engine giant, Google). However it is currently only enjoying a very small slice of the browser users market. At first Opera is sold as a shareware, but I suppose to remain in the top 4 most popular browsers category, Opera has to be offered free of charge to consumers. There is little hope for Opera to regain more userbase, its best hope is to cling on to the top 4 most popular browsers category while going all out to be recognized as the best mobile Web browser.

Google Chrome
This browser has been secretly developed for over a year and no word about it got out at all until early September 2008. Still in beta status, heavily based on Mozilla Firefox's codes. It could have been prettier but like most other Google tools, I guess usability is more important to them than aesthetics. One of the advantages is that each browser tab is opened by separate memory threads, making it more stable and less prone for the main browser window to crash (and thus prevent loss of data). Chrome is predicted to be involved with a fierce three way struggle with Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox in the race to be the top and most popular Web browser.

Do you like reading about Web browsers? I will write more about Web browsers in general, I am also planning to write more in details about Google Chrome and Opera.

Question(s) of the day: What is your favorite browser? Why?
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movie fan said...

it's funny, the more i use Chrome (for windows), the more unstable it seems to get... crashes a lot more, can't handle sites with flash, hangs every time i close a tab... all that to say, i'm switching back to Firefox

BobbyT said...

hey thanks for the feedback! I'm mainly still using Firefox, although it crashes occasionally too (no I don't blame FF, my laptop itself has insufficient memory I guess).

by the way, I realized I did not comment what the screen shot in the post is about - the 2 browsers are Chrome (left) and Safari (right) if there are people still wondering.

Jayce said...

Firefox!!! Why else do you want to use? :D

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