Saturday, November 21, 2009

Top 10 Tech #8: Browser Shootout: Firefox 3, Ie 7, And Chrome Compared


by Dennis Faas Senior Editor


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No doubt, the most commonly used software program is the web browser
-- but which one is best? We compare and contrast key differences with
Mozilla's Firefox 3, Microsoft's Internet Explorer 7, and Google's new
Chrome web browser, while highlighting future features.


Statistics: Who's Using What?


Microsoft's Internet Explorer ("IE") is the world's leading web
browser with about 50.6% market share as of August 2008, second to
Mozilla Firefox ("Firefox") with 43.7%. The remaining shares are
divided between lesser-known web browsers, such as Mozilla, Opera, and
Safari. (Source:


Mozilla Firefox


Initially released on November 9, 2004, Mozilla Firefox is a free and
open source web browser, managed by the Mozilla Corporation.

Firefox includes tabbed web browsing, a spell checker, incremental
find, live bookmarking, a download manager, and an integrated search
system that uses the user's desired search engine.

Firefox runs on various versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X,
Linux, and many other Unix-like operating systems. (Source:


Firefox 3 Versus Internet Explorer 7


While there is plenty of debate on the Internet concerning this issue,
most folks agree that:

1. Firefox is faster than IE 7: it starts faster and loads pages

2. Addons: There are loads of add-ons available for Firefox for a
variety of features, including ad blockers, themes, and more.

3. Firefox user interface is better: Firefox 3 is totally
customizeable, which means you can make it look like the old Internet
Explorer, or even the old Firefox 2.

4. Firefox has a good track record of effectively blocking popup
advertisements compared to Internet Explorer.


Firefox: The Future


Mozilla's Firefox version 3.1 is expected before the end of 2008. It
doesn't look like there will be any major new features, but the
updates are expected to fix some bugs from version 3; there are also
rumours the browser will be faster. (Source:


Internet Explorer 7


Windows Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is a web browser released by
Microsoft in October 2006 and is the default web browser used in
Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008.

New features include tabbed browsing, page zooming, an integrated
search box, a feed reader, and improved support for web standards.
Security enhancements include a phishing filter, stronger encryption
on Windows Vista, and a "Delete browsing history" button to easily
clear private data. (Source:

Compared to Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer 7 is a closed-source
web browser, which means that it is solely developed by Microsoft.
Internet Explorer 7 is not multi-platform and can only run on
Microsoft Windows XP (Service Pack 2+), Microsoft Windows XP x64
Edition, or Vista.


Internet Explorer 6 versus Internet Explorer 7


When it first launched, there was -- and still is -- quite a bit of
negative buzz surrounding Windows Vista because of its software and
hardware incompatibility issues, hence most users who own Windows XP
are reluctant to upgrade. Since IE6 is the stock web browser of XP, it
is still widely used amongst Internet users; in fact, it is estimated
that 1/4 of all Internet users are still using Internet Explorer 6
(24.5%) -- almost neck-in-neck with Internet Explorer 7 (26.0%).
(Source:, as of September 2008)


Key differences in IE 7 versus IE 6


The Menu Bar (File, Edit, View, etc) has been removed by default.

The Go To and Refresh Button have merged with the Address Bar.

Tabbed browsing -- finally!

Much Needed Security Enhancements


Internet Explorer 8: The Future


Internet Explorer 8, the latest edition of Microsoft's browser, is
currently in its second test edition at the time of this writing, with
the final version expected later this year. New features include
improved security scanning, smarter search suggestions and a built-in
function for viewing pages designed for earlier browsers that aren't
displaying properly.

There's also a feature for browsing without leaving any trace on your
machine, which Microsoft suggests could be used for buying gifts
online without spoiling the surprise. (That certainly makes for a more
PR-friendly explanation than kids wanting to look at nudies

Verdict: Internet Explorer will likely be the market leader for years
to come, simply because of Microsoft's dominance. Some of the new
features in IE version 8 sound intriguing, but only time will tell if
they turn out to be effective, or useful, in day-to-day surfing. It's
also worth bearing in mind that Internet Explorer's dominance will
always make it a target for hackers, so you may need to be extra-
conscious about security.


Google Chrome: Recently Released


Google has entered the browser market with Chrome. While it's got some
neat user features, the downsides are that some security bugs have
already been discovered, along with compatibility issues for some
websites, and some people have already raised privacy concerns.

It's tough to predict whether Google's strong reputation for simple
and effective products will be enough to make Chrome a success. It's
worth checking out, but double-check your security measures first as
hackers will no doubt be keen to earn a major scalp by attacking a
giant like Google.


Google Chrome: Key Differences


Chrome is built on the basis of Apple's Safari browser.

Speed and Security: Chrome uses multi-processing to handle user
requests, giving each element of a page own memory and process,
instead of the single-threading architecture used by today's browsers.
Multi-threading should therefore make Chrome faster and more secure.

Chrome Task Manager functions like Windows Task Manager, and allow you
to find and processes (even plug-ins) that are hogging resources or

This one is on par with IE8 and the newest version of Firefox: a
privacy mode, where you can browse without anything from the session
being written to your computer -- no cache, no history, no cookies,
nothing. (Dubbed "porn mode" by most blogs, but with serious
applications, such as public browsing, as well.)

Extra secure: the browser includes Google's ever-growing list of
spyware and malware sites, and every tab is "sandboxed," which means
whatever happens in the tabs can't affect your computer.

PopUp Control: Every pop-up is contained in the tab in starts in,
collected as a small link on the bottom of the page.


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Maximum PC Load Letter #32: 20 Essential Firefox Tweaks, Windows 7 Makeover!

Issue 032

ednote Sweet, sweet, November has arrived and we're pumped for the Holiday season. In fact, we're getting in the spirit of giving by running 4 weeks of awesome contests on This week, we're giving away a custom-engraved Zune HD portable media player. Just click the picture to your right to get all the important rules. Later this week, we'll also be announcing a HP Envy laptop giveaway, but you'll have to check back on the website for more details. I promise we won't make you write an essay or film a corny video to participate!

We also have a ton of great features lined up for you. Yesterday, Firefox turned 5 years old, so we commemorated the occasion by posting our favorite and most essential Firefox tips. If you like this kind of story, expect more software tweak guides in the near future!

As always, shoot me an email if you have any comments! Please digg our stories, and be sure to become a fan of our Facebook group to quality for the Zune HD contest and other giveaways!
Norman Chan
Online Editor, Maximum PC

20 Essential Tweaks and Tips Every Firefox User Should Know feature1_newsletter -- Firefox may be your default browser, but that doesn't mean you really use it to its full potential. Mozilla's browser (which just celebrated its 5th birthday!) is a big threat to Microsoft not because it's fast and full of unique features, but because it's also extremely customizable. Add-ons, style scripts, and hidden preferences let you personalize your Firefox experience to meet your tastes and needs. Sure, you may know about hidden easter eggs like the about:robots page, but we're going show you the 20 most essential tips, tricks, and tweaks for this super browser.

If you like this story, please help us by Digging it!
7 Surprising Kick-Ass Things You Can Do with Google Sketchup -- As a part of Google's quest to be the undisputed overlords of the Internet, they've made a lot of quality services available for free. Gmail, Google maps and Google Docs are all famous examples, but one of the search giant's coolest free offerings, Sketchup, flies under a lot of peoples' radars.
Sketchup is a free 3D modelling tool developed based on the philosophy that by giving people a small set of powerful, intuitive tools, you can lower the barrier of entry to 3D modelling, so that almost anyone can make quality 3D models with just a couple of sessions of practice. We've compiled a list of 7 awesome things you can do with Sketchup that you probably didn't know were possible. Did you know, for instance, that you can create a Left 4 Dead map in Sketchup? Read on to find out more!

20 Essential Tricks Every Outlook User Needs to Know -- Are you stuck using Outlook at work? We feel your pain. Compared to the alternatives, like Mozilla's light-weight and customizable Thunderbird client, Outlook is slow, bloaty, and downright unwieldy. Add to the fact that it isn't free and Outlook doesn't appear to have much going for it.
But whether you use Outlook because you have to or have grown accustomed to its interface and are reluctant to switch (or maybe you just want to justify the cost of Microsoft Office), we have some tricks to help you manage your email and contacts like a pro. After all, if you're going to use Outlook, no matter what the reason, you might as well get the most out of it, and we're here to help you do just that.
$1000 Budget PC Buyer's Guide - October 2009 -- It's been a while since we've posted a Parts and Price Guide on the site-okay, it's been a long time. Now we're back and better than ever, and so are the system specs we're pairing you up with this month. We're starting you off with a $1000 PC, which is a happy mid-way price point between the $700 recession special and $1500 budget surplus found in this year's Dream Machine roundup.

$1000 may not seem like a steal for the truly frugal, but in a world of fluctuating economies and ever-changing technologies, getting the most "bang for your buck" is more important than getting rock bottom prices at the expense of performance. And in the time since we last posted a buyer's guide, new awesome technologies like Intel's Core i5 and ATI's Evergreen series of GPUs (which powers the Radeon 5870) have redefined our expectations of budget PC performance. With these computing advances in mind, we've carefully pieced together a sub-$1000 spec that doesn't break the bank or compromise performance.
How to Build Your Own Custom Linux Distro -- Although most Linux users rely on pre-built Linux distros and customize their software configuration after installation, there is nothing quite like having a Linux distro that was custom-designed to your specifications. This allows you to get whatever you want out of the box, but in the past it was difficult to create such a distro since it involved compiling the entire operating system from source. (something firmly in the realm of advanced-to-expert-level users) OpenSuse Studio changes that.

Freeware Files: Five Apps for a Windows 7 Desktop Makeover!

There's nothing wrong with the Windows 7 desktop per se. But for freeware developers, that's no excuse not to tweak, hack, and otherwise modify every possible piece of your screen. And it's not that difficult to add new functionality to your desktop that doesn't otherwise exist in the operating system. The hardest part is finding software that makes a substantive change to what you already have. After all, the last thing you want to do is install a ton of different freeware apps and find your desktop in even worse shape than it was before (if you do, take a quick trip to Revo Uninstaller).
The intensity of the following five free applications ranges from apps that completely revamp your desktop's look and feel to programs that add new ways for accessing common apps and folders straight off your desktop. How far you want to go with your tweaking is entirely up to you--these are just some of the more interesting tools I've come across that should go a long way toward raising your "Windows Power User" level a few notches.


No BS Podcast #123: The Toledo Effect
Remember, remember the fifth of November! Topics discussed this week: On a slow news week, Will fueled Gordon's rage by briefing him on the Call of Duty PC controversies, then the guy discussed Left4Dead 2 a bit more, and closed the show with an extra-long Doctor section and another vitriolic episode of Rant of the Week!

Barnes and Nobles Delays Nook Reader, Citing High Demand

If the Barnes and Noble Nook sounds like a great Christmas present, you might want to preorder one now. Everyone's favorite bookseller has announced that due to massive demand, Nook preorders have been pushed into December. There are also reports that Barnes and Noble stores will have no in-store Nooks until mid December.

According to a Barnes and Noble spokesperson, "Nook has quickly become the fastest selling product at Barnes & Noble. In fact, there is so much consumer interest in Nook, that pre-orders have exceeded our expectations." The Nook will be selling for $259 whenever you can find one. Barnes and Noble opened their eBook store back in July and it currently offers over 700,000 titles.

Microsoft to Give Away Free WiFi if You Search with Bing

Microsoft's Bing and JiWire have a proposition for you. Free WiFi in exchange for using Bing. Interested? The promotion would give users free Internet access at participating hotspots if they do just one search with Bing. In conjunction with JiWire's advertising network, Microsoft will be extending the offer to various hotels and airports.

The campaign was started in September at several thousand locations. It managed to attract between 30 and 40 percent of visitors to the hotspots. This is extremely high, as most ads only get interaction from 0.1 to 0.2 percent of people. Microsoft reportedly plans to continue with the promotion, which is a part of JiWire's Ads for Access campaign. The campaign allows companies to give customers something in exchange for their time. This can be taking a survey, watching a video ad, or (in this case) using the Bing search engine.

AT&T Announces 3G USB Stick for Use with HSPA 7.2
AT&T plans to deploy HSPA 7.2 in six US cities by the end of the year. Today, it took a small step towards that launch by announcing a new 3G LaptopConnect device from Sierra Wireless. Compatible with HSPA 7.2 and called the AT&T USBConnect Lightning, the USB stick will become available on November 22. It will be available for free with a data plan of at least $35 a month. AT&T will be upgrading its existing 3G network to HSPA 7.2 in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Miami before the end of this year, with further plans "to reach about 90 percent of its existing 3G network footprint with HSPA 7.2 by the end of 2011."

Google Buys Mobile Advertising Company AdMob for $750 Million

Mobile advertising is about to get a lot more Googly. Search giant Google has announced that they have purchased mobile advertiser AdMob for a healthy $750 million. Ads powered by the small startup have been seen in numerous apps on the iPhone and Android platforms.

AdMob was started in 2006 by Omar Hamoui, and has grown into a major player in mobile advertising. Google points out that the mobile world is becoming as increasingly important part of our daily lives. As such, Google would like to advertise to us in that part of our lives. Google said in a blog post that app developers will enjoy better monetization of their content because of this deal. They also promise advertisers a more engaged audience.

Black Friday deals; Google Chrome OS; HTC HD2, Samsung Behold II hands-on [WEEK IN REVIEW]

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