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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Browser Wars Really Heating Up

With today's release of Internet Explorer 9 Beta, the browser wars have reached a new level.  For years, Internet Explorer was the king of the hill.  Several years ago, The Mozilla Foundation released an open source browser that has steadily been chipping away at Microsoft's market share.  About 2 years ago Google jumped into the fray with its Chrome browser.  Chrome really changed everything.  The minimalist screen was different than anything out there and the speed of the browser immediately began changing the browser landscape.  Suddenly, all of the browsers starting fighting over the title of "fastest browser."  Microsoft had fallen seriously behind all of the competitors and is generally seen as slow and out of date.  When Microsoft started working on its most recent version of Internet Explorer, IE9, they started looking for a way to catch up in the speed wars.  They have come up with a way of using the computers processor and video card to help do some of the work to make the browser work faster.  Suddenly, Internet Explorer becomes the trail blazer and all the competitors find themselves trying to come up with a similar feature.  Mozilla is working on the next generation of it's browser, Firefox 4.0.  In the 4th Beta of their 4.0 browser, they added this feature but in order to make it work, users had to manually turn it on.  About a week ago Mozilla released it's 5th Beta and turned on the hardware acceleration by default.  My experience with Beta 5 is that the graphics are greatly improved but not quite up to par with Internet Explorer 9.  Chrome recently added hardware acceleration to the Developer Version of their browser a couple of weeks ago also.  But most people do not know that they can download even more updated versions of Chrome and Firefox.  Here's how to download up to the minute versions of the browsers.

Chrome gives you the option to download Chrome Canary Build.  This version of the Chrome browser is updated almost daily.  It carries the greatest risk because it is truly experimental but users who want to see what Google is cooking up can download it here.  It works side by side with any other version of Chrome.  The icon for the Canary build is yellow.

Firefox has introduced a brand new engine in its nightly builds.  This engine drastically speeds up Firefox.  This version is updated daily and can be downloaded here.  Some security software may recognize this is a virus and not allow you to download it.  I use Norton and when I update daily, Norton considers it a virus and deletes it.  I therefore have to reinstall it every day if I want to use it.  When you install it you will see that it is entitled "Minefield."

In the meantime you can download Internet Explorer 9 right here.  Windows XP users will not be able to use IE9.  And when you download IE9, it will replace IE8 on your computer.

Let us know what you think of this state of the art browsers.