In the woeful war of the world wide web browsers, each individual side consistently attempts to one up the other sides through feature, security, and user-friendly upgrades. The battle originally began with the inception of Internet Explorer 6 in 2001 which conquered the majority of the market share. However, since then browsers have evolved into an incredible tool for users which has sparked the brutal battle of upgrades for the title of “best browser”. Here is a quick look at each individual company’s most modern browser features as well as our “Battle Score”:
With the release of IE8, security updates and overall stability of this Microsoft’s web browser significantly improved the usability. However, those were not the only two additions. The following features are also included in the latest and greatest IE:
- Webslices – These are snippets of individual web pages to which a user can subscribe. The slices are updated by the browser automatically, and can be viewed within the favorites bar
- Accelerators – If the user selects a portion of text or other objects, the user will have access to “accelerator services” like blogging with the selected text (or object). In general, the accelerator feature eliminates the need to copy and paste content between web pages
- Automatic Tab Recovery — This is a basic feature, but it is a great addition; if your browser (or computer) happens to crash, IE8 will automatically recovery the last webpage that you were visiting in each of the browser tabs open.
- Favorites Bar — The new favorites bar has the ability to host webslices, RSS feeds, documents, and web links
- Inline Search Within Pages — Instead of the old “Find” search bar, there is now a “Find” toolbar which is activated by pressing control+F. IE8 will highlight all words for which the user searches
- Other Great Features — Multilingual User Interface, zooming and image scaling, per-site ActiveX controls, suggested sites, SmartScreen Filter, improvements in performance and stability, and InPrivate
Battle Score: 7 out of 10 due to the inability to customize
As an open-source project, Mozilla Firefox is consistently looking to improve on their browser. Personally, Firefox is my favorite browser due to the customizations that users can implement. However, instead of telling you about my personal experience with Firefox, here is a list of the current features of version 3.6 (version 4.0 to be released in November of 2010):
- Persona – With this version of Firefox, you have the ability to customize the skin of your web browser. This means that you don’t have to stick with the default blue and gray screen and can spice things up a little bit
- Plug-In Notification — For those of you that don’t use Firefox, there are plugins (or add-ons) which supply you with additional tools for your use. Tools can range from individual website adaptations to web ranking tools and much much more. With the new version of Firefox, you are alerted when plugins have updates released
- Tabbed Browsing and Auto Recovery — Similar to IE, tabbed browsing is provided with the ability (if your computer crashes) to recover the last websites visited within each of the tabs
- Spell Checking — When writing an e-mail, Firefox automatically checks the spelling of each word written (typed).
- Location Aware Browsing — Truly based on a Google service, but well worth the addition as it pulls up niche geographical results for your searches
Battle Score: 8 out of 10 due to the ability to customize and add plugins
As Apple’s browser you can expect that they truly do not want to finish anything but in first place in the web browser battle. Along with this, Apple has take a different approach to their browser and adapted to make the graphical web browser. This browser allows users to interact with a web page in various ways aside from typing and moving around a mouse. Let’s take a look at the features Safari provides its users:
- Web Page Snippets — Similar to IE8, Safari allows users to view clips of webpages which are also updated automatically for the user to view within the Apple Dashboard
- Spell Checking — Similar to Firefox’s feature
- Tabbed Browsing and Recovery of Tabs
- Font Smoothing — One of the more savvy features which allows difficult (or poorly planned) font schemes to be viewed easier
Battle Score: 7 out of 10 due to the lack of additional (unique) features
For what it’s worth, and I mean no disrespect by this, but if you are using Opera for your web browser. Take a few seconds and download a better browser. You will be very happy with the switch to any other modern browser listed in this article.
Not to be outdone by Firefox, Google’s Chrome is on the rise in the battle for browser status. It includes all of the Firefox features mentioned above, but also has several others that are well worth your while:
- Auto Update — Taking the trouble of upgrading your browser out of your hands, Chrome automatically updates to the latest and greatest version available. This means that there is no upgrade issues for users (like IE goes through for each update)
- Aero Peek Capability — Instead of viewing the tabs as, well, tabs you now have the opportunity to view them as thumbnails
- Desktop Shortcuts and Apps — This browser actually allows you to make your own shortcuts which open web applications in a browser. This allows web applications to run alongside other software without interruption
- Overall Speed — By far, this is the fastest browser to date
Battle Score: 9 out of 10 for taking initiative and maintaining outstanding features for users
Overall, this article has hopefully provided you with enough information to make an educated decision on which browser to use. However, if it hasn’t you always have the opportunity to download the browsers for free and see which one you like the best for yourself. We are always looking for your comments and thoughts so please leave a few comments below.