Tech @ 10: Battle of the Browsers

By: Mikel Lauber
By: Mikel Lauber

Last week Microsoft released its final version of Internet Explorer 8.0.  Whenever a new browser pops up, the debate of which one is the ‘best’ gets a new spark.  For this week’s Tech @ 10, I gave my brief opinion on IE and 4 alternatives. 


IE remains the most popular browser, with about 2/3 of people using it, so an update affects a lot of people.  You’ll notice the changes in 8.0 right away.  It’s noticeably quicker at loading pages, and has a couple handy features, like ‘Web Slices’ and color-coded tabs to keep multi-taskers more organized. 


Mozilla Firefox is the popular alternative.  The great thing about Firefox is that you can make it do almost anything you want it to.  There’s a library of thousands of extensions that can add almost any functionality you want – although add too many, and Firefox seems to eat up more and more of your system memory.


Opera has some of my favorite features on a browser.  I got used to using the ‘mouse gestures’ to browse, and found them very difficult to give up.  For example, you can hold the right mouse button and click the left button in order to go ‘back’ in the browser – a gesture that just feels natural to me now.  I’ve also found Opera’s password manager to be top-notch, catching passwords other browsers will overlook.  For that reason, I use Opera when I’m doing online banking or bill-paying. (Although it seems there are Firefox add-ons for similar functionality.)


My latest browser of choice is the new Google Chrome.  I’ve been using their version 2.0 beta because of the incredible speed it gives me.  Pages load quickly and the interface is very clean.  I also love the full-screen browsing when I’m on my low-resolution Netbook.


Apple’s Safari is intriguing to me as well, although I haven’t used it much.  It’s extremely fast and simple too, and has some very nice visual features, like allowing you to flip through visual previews of your most visited pages or bookmarks.


I know these aren’t the only browsers out there, and I certainly didn’t touch on EVERY aspect of these 5.  So what do you think?  What’s your browser of choice?  Any big strengths or weaknesses you think I overlooked?

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