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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Internet Explorer 8: Worth an Upgrade?

July 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , , , )

Internet Explorer is known for its majority claim on the Internet browser market share and it’s close ties to the Windows operating system. Microsoft continue to flourish and says their new browser is worthwhile and better than ever! Here are a few ways IE8 exceeds it’s previous version.

One unique feature of IE8 is the accelerators. These tools save further browsing time by turning popular searches into a simple right-click function. For example, you can highlight an address, right click on it, and choose the “Bing Maps” feature (similar to Google Maps, or Mapquest). Another smaller window slides out with a small map showing the location of that address and a link to get to directions. This saves you the time you would spend opening a new window and copy/pasting the address on a mapping website.

You can see search results on popular sites such as Google, Dictionary.com, and Wikipedia. First, highlight a keyword(s) on the web site you are viewing, like “Tiramisu” for example, and right click. Choose the accelerator of your choice to see a mini page with Tiramisu search results on Google, or the dictionary or Wikipedia entry at a glance (Tiramisu is, by the way, a delectable Italian dessert!). There are a variety of accelerators available that may interest you, some using Microsoft sites like Bing and MSN, and others using popular sites, including YouTube and Facebook.

Web slices are another new IE8 feature that is available for select webpages (indicated by the green web slice icon at the top of the page). Web slices allows you to see a small “slice” of the pages you want to check regularly, without searching for or loading the webpage.

For example, if you are bidding on an Ebay item, you can add a slice for that particular item (instead of the whole webpage) to your new favorites bar at the top of the page. When the slice has new information, like another person bidding on your item, the slice title become bold. You can click on the slice to see a mini page with your item, increase the bid, or read the new information, etc. Other slices available show news, stocks, weather, sports, etc. The new favorites bar displays your slices along the top of the screen similar to tabs for easy access.

IE8 has some feature with which you may be familiar. Similar to Google Chrome, IE8 has “tab isolation” that prevents the whole browser window from crashing if one tab malfunctioning and “In-private browsing” that allows you to surf without saving history and files to your computer. Like Firefox, if your browser window closes unexpectedly, you can restore all your tabs to the previous session. Like the Google toolbar feature, you can restore recently closed tabs into the same window if you accidentally close a tab.

Internet Explorer 8 also is equipped with newer technology that promises more security and speed. To read more about the security features, check out microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer. Whether it is really faster than other browsers is up for debate, depending on how testing is done and what pages are tested. The best way to know if it works better is to try it out for yourself. Based on your Internet services connection speed and surfing habits, you may be able to load pages faster with Internet Explorer 8. Keep in mind that it is good practice to back up your files and create a restore point before you install IE8. If you do decide to download IE8, check out browserforthebetter.com if you want your download to help feed the hungry.

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