The Browser Debate: Is Internet Explorer the Best?

July 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , )

Assuming you are like the majority of online surfers, you’re probably running a Microsoft Windows operating system and Internet Explorer for your Internet services.

Why do more people use Internet Explorer? One reason could be simply because it’s integrated with the operating system of all Windows computers and is therefore the easiest option—no downloading necessary! It could be that many people don’t even know about the other browsers. Of course, there are a percentage of users that believe IE is simply better than other browsers. Lets see some comparisons:

IE: Biggest and best. Internet Explorer holds the largest market share for Internet browsers. They must be doing something (rather, things) right. Microsoft is clearly an expert in their industry and have a vast amount of resources. They are constantly working to improve their operating systems, software, speed and security. IE8 is now claimed by experts to be the safest browser. It’s new technology has matched or possibly surpassed its rivals in speed, features, and built-in search address bar.

Rebuttal: Microsoft’s large market share is why many people have avoided using Internet Explorer in the past and will continue to do so. Internet Explorer is more likely to be the target of malware and phishing tactics. Hackers can access the largest amount of computer users by attacking Microsoft because more people use thier products than anyone else’s.

IE: Your Windows partner. Internet Explorer is deeply integrated with the Windows operating system. Using a browser that is an integral part of your operating system instead of downloading a browser can be beneficial. Windows automatically downloads (or alerts you to download) updates for the computer to keep your computer fast and safe. This means that people who are less familiar with computers don’t have to worry about installing updates if they use Internet Explorer—their computer can do it for them.

Rebuttal: New versions of Internet Explorer have caused multiple problems for Windows users, including the latest IE8. Some have even said that Internet Explorer is so much a part of Windows that it can almost not even be called a browser. Downloading IE can be more risky than downloading other browsers because of it’s close ties to the Windows operating system. Uninstalling IE8 could harm your computer or other software even further, should you change your mind.

Microsoft usually fixes their newest browser’s bugs soon after it is released, but too late for some. Many computer technicians recommend waiting several months before upgrading to new IE browsers.

IE: Match your personality. The latest version, IE8, has some unique and compelling new features that appeal to varying personalities. You can customize bookmarks, preset search queries, and choose from a growing list of add-ons. The new web slices and accelerators are built in to the browser, unlike Firefox, where they have to be individually downloaded.

Rebuttal: When it comes to features, IE has a record of being late in the game. IE7 was the last browser existing at the time to have tabbed browsing. IE8 finally matches the reliability of tab browsing that Firefox and Chrome feature, like session restore (returning tabs that unexpectedly close) and tab isolation (running processes separately in each tab to avoid crashing the whole window).

IE may have new features built in, but as a result, the download size is more than double that of other browsers. Many advanced computer users would argue that a browser like Firefox with over 6,000 add-ons is much more convenient, as you have the freedom to choose only the features you want. Others would prefer Google Chrome for it’s very simple layout but advanced and accelerated technology.

Perhaps one of the highest debated comparison is speed. Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google, all say their browser is the fastest according to their tests. You will probably just have to try them for yourself and see which browser performs the best with your particular connection speed and surfing habits.

For many reasons, one browser is simply not the best for everyone. If it was, there would be no debate. Thankfully, these browsers are easily accessible to compare for yourself. In fact, having two browsers can be beneficial for comparing features and troubleshooting “page cannot be displayed” errors. When you download a new browser, be sure to read or watch the videos demonstrating that browsers features to get the most out of your surfing experience. You may be surprised what you have been missing.

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Mozilla Firefox: The IE Alternative

July 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , )

Mozilla Firefox is the second most popular web browser for Internet services, next to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Mozilla was one of the first companies to implement tabbed browsing, which is now standard for all Internet browsers. Their browser is free to download and compatible to Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Firefox is also an open source software, meaning their engineering is available to anyone to be improved or borrowed to make other products. Google’s new browser, Chrome, was based off of multiple Firefox features, and Google openly credits Firefox for their ideas.

There are a variety of features started by Firefox that are now used on other browsers. The “Session restore” feature allows you to go back to the sites you were visiting in the event of Firefox or your computer unexpectedly crashing or closing. Bookmarking, similar to “Favorites”, can be done with one click on the star icon in the address bar to save the current page to view again later.

Firefox also has several unique features: The “Password Manager” offers to remember (or never remember) password information that you are entering on a website. Instead of an intrusive window popping up in the middle of the screen, this feature displays just under the toolbars and can easily ignored if you don’t want to specify how to handle the password information.

Downloading is simple and convenient on Firefox. When you click on a link to download, you will see the Download Manager window, showing the name and progress, as well as the option to pause or cancel the download. Once the download process is complete, just double click the file to open it, instead of trying to find it on your computer.

Firefox may very well be the king of customization with over 6,000 customization options—and counting! These vary from necessary add-ons that help you view certain webpages and applications, to personas and skins tailored to your personality and interests. Here are a few examples:

  • The Minimap Sidebar shows the location of any address by drag and dropping from websites or manually entering an address. You can then get directions with Google, Yahoo, or Live Local. Address are automatically saved for future reference.

  • AnyColor allows you to customize your web browser frame and options window to your favorite color.

  • Speed Dial lets you preset 9 websites of your choice to one-click access them from blank new windows or tabs.

  • Lazarus: Form Recovery saves all the data you type in forms online in the event of a crash. You can simply return to the form, right click, and “recover form” to restore all your information.

Being able to create a browser that is just right for you is easy with Firefox’s many add-ons. For example, the new and improved Internet Explorer 8 has many of the same features, but with Firefox, you can choose only the features that you will use.

Firefox continually looks for ways to make a better browser. The latest version, Firefox 3.5, is faster and safer than previous versions with new technology and better handling of your computer’s memory. It also now has the “Private Browsing” option, like other browsers, which allows you to surf the web without saving any cookies, history, or files on your computer. To read more about the security and speed features, see all the available add-ons, and read more about Firefox 3.5, check out firefox.com.

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