Enterprise Software

The browser wars just keep going and going and...


Even though Microsoft's Internet Explorer is the most popular browser in the industry, no doubt due to the fact that users don't have to do anything but start the operating system to use it, Mozilla is coming on strong. This type of competition is fantastic when it comes to innovation, because it means that both players will continue to work hard to one-up each other. One of the biggest improvements that Microsoft has announced for IE8 is a "privacy mode," which allows users to temporarily turn off the browser's history and cookies and will also remove any temporary files generated during the private session as soon as the browser is closed.

Microsoft Tips IE8 Privacy Features (PC Mag)

IE8 will also include a feature that helps to combat cross-site scripting, an attack that embeds malicious code in legitimate Web sites. Some people believe that this feature will break some advertisements, which is a boon to users but could cause ripples in a market that Microsoft would dearly love to crack. Mozilla isn't sitting on its laurels either, enabling a feature that asks Firefox 2 users to upgrade to the new version, experienced by yours truly for the first time tonight as I sat down to write this post. In addition, a new just-in-time compiling method in Firefox 3.1 could speed up the upstart browser by three times on sites that extensively use Java and Javascript.

Microsoft's IE 8 Puts Giant Web Hole on Notice (The Register)

IE8 Will Contain an Accidental Ad Blocker (Slashdot)

Mozilla Steps Up Firefox 3 Push (VNUNet)

Firefox 3.1 Will Be Three Times Faster, Says Mozilla (Tech Radar)

There are some people out there who have called Microsoft's "privacy mode" a virtual "porn mode." No doubt some people will use the feature for exactly that, but this will be more of a concern for spouses who suspect their partners are doing things they shouldn't as most employers that track usage don't go through user's history files, they collect data as it is flowing to the Internet. Other features in the new IE will hopefully cut down on some of the bad code out there, but Firefox is making headway where users will notice it more: speed. In general, I would rather have a lightning-fast browser than one that has features that I will likely never use. What do you think of the newest browser features?

11 comments
r.salazar
r.salazar

It's great IE users start noticing other options, but given the site (*TECH*republic) I'd expect someone a bit more experienced with other browsers. Anyway, many of Fx (Firefox) features come from Opera. A hell of a lot of IE 7/8' features are and will be coming from... well, all of them. The privacy mode has been long available in Fx through an extension, and not being an Opera user, I wouldn't be surprised if it has been there since the beginning.

quark
quark

What about Avant, based on IE along with the IE engine? It is brilliantly fast, feature-full, powerful and very good-looking. Where Firefox and Opera often time out, especially trying to get TechRepublic, Avant gets there every time. Any comments on Avant? I use it as my default browser and find only plusses.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Unlike the MS / Netscape war, in this case there's not likely to be a loser going out of business.

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

Privacy features? Meh. I don't keep anything private from my wife anyway, she has full access to my browsing history through Google's history feature. The XSS blocker is a nice addition to IE8, but I would still prefer a faster browsing experience just about every time. What will you be looking for in your next generation browser?

tgfj
tgfj

I use both but of late it has been almost impossible to get IE to remember cookies thus I need to log into every site each time. No help from MS so FF is used whenever I go to sites that require a login - which is most of the time. That said I tried IE8 beta, and as usual I liked its speed and slickness, it does as IE7 does, look like a package written by a group of real professionals. FF is clunky, using large font sizes for its bookmarks and generally looks like a package written by a committee of open-source geeks but it does what it says it will and it does it well. loading up requires some means of overcoming boredom but once started it's fine. I do wish MS would sort out its persistent problems and stop the never-ending battle with young pretenders.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

To compare the benefits of privacy mode to a performance issue (speed) is ridiculous. A better article would of been comparing features to features and performance to performance. You seemed to have cherry picked one feature from IE 8.0 while focusing on speed in Firefox. And while Firefox is a zippy little browser, it continues to grow and get bloated not to mention the startup time is abysmal. Firefox is like having a car that goes 200 mph but 1-60 mph in 10 minutes. IE is like having a car that only goes 100 mph but it goes 1-60 mph in 5 seconds. And that's not to mention why anyone needs to go 200 mph to begin with. Ok, ok so Firefox will allow you to pull up a page .0001 seconds faster...wow!

spdragoo
spdragoo

Generally speaking, I find that the pages I visit on the Internet through IE7 don't load any faster than in Firefox 3.0... and that's if I'm lucky. Of course, the fact that it takes IE7 twice as long to boot up as Firefox, plus I have to worry more about my security settings, makes it less useful for my everyday needs. Which is why I usually only open IE when a company has made their web page's functions only accessible via IE...and tends to make me less likely to visit said site in the future.

ThatWasUnexpected
ThatWasUnexpected

Look, Fx, IE, Opera, it doesn't matter. Each of us tune our PCs and our environments to how we're comfortable working/browsing. I'm on both sides of the fence: I use IE at work and in my production environment because I have apps that depend on it. That falls into the "Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft" thinking, I'm sure. I've got a test environment where I'm working on moving things to Linux/virtualized apps where I use Firefox. They both perform to designed intent on their respective systems..... I'm just wondering, what the hell happened to Netscape......lol

r.salazar
r.salazar

the browser wars is still going on... look at us! "Keep the patches updated and run a decent AV" are basic, no matter what you use (i.e., that also applies for Fx users), and that's thanks to the platform (e.g., Windows) or other faulty applications. There are, though, more risks of being infected browsing with IE, simply because there is bigger target (users) and they're usually less experienced users than those of other non-OS-integrated browsers. That doesn't mean Fx doesn't have security issues, and people will be having a fake sense of security if they think otherwise.

r.salazar
r.salazar

That way you can either open IE in a click (from Fx, pointed to the page you're looking at) or even run it embedded into a tab. Just beware that you'll still have to wait for IE to load, but it's still a bit faster than open the whole IE window.

rkuhn040172
rkuhn040172

Me saying IE was speedy. What I said, or meant to say, is that Firefox is faster. However, that extra tenth of a second means nothing to most people. And I'm sorry if my experience is different, but on my PC IE opens almost instantaneously. Firefox, on the other hand, takes forever to open. Perhaps that is Microsoft's ability to hook more of it into the OS itself, I don't care, it still opens faster. As far as security goes, that is so over hyped. If one uses IE 7.0, keeps their patches updated and runs a decent AV program, no worries.

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