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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