Friday, October 14, 2011

Browser Wars: IE9 and Firefox 4 have brought serious competition

Browser Wars IE9 and Firefox 4 have brought serious competition to favored upstart Google Chrome 10. Safari 5 and Opera 11, while smaller players, are also keeping up the pressure on our top choice.

When it comes to choosing a Web browser today, you're spoiled for choice. Major new releases Internet Explorer 9 and Firefox 4 have brought these two big name browsers to near parity with upstart Google Chrome and longtime innovator Opera. The current crop of surfing software all include plenty of speed, minimized interfaces for a better look at that site you're browsing, and support for the emerging HTML5 standard markup language.
Each brings a unique twist, though. The new browser from Microsoft, Internet Explorer 9, adds hardware acceleration for graphics-intensive sites and arguably the best privacy tool to prevent tracking of your Web activities by marketing sites. Firefox offers a Panorama view of your tabs and a refreshed version of what's still the most powerful set of customizations, along with the ability to sync bookmarks, history, settings, and more.
Google's Chrome, which may be the fastest growing browser in history in terms of market share, is also the most frequently updated. It's already at version 10 after just two and a half years. Chrome, too, offers syncing, but on top of this it adds some pretty powerful, useful features—its Instant feature starts displaying a page from your history before you even finish typing in the Omnibox, its combined address-search box. And the browser comes with built-in viewers for Flash and PDF content, saving you from having to install separate plug-ins.
Though Safari exist predominantly in Apple Mac territory, there's no reason Windows users can't enjoy the unique and—typical-of-Apple—beautifully designed extras if offers. Its "Reader" view cuts all the ads and unnecessary items off a page you just want to read the text on, and the Top Sites page offers a stunning 3D gallery view of your most frequently needed Web locations.
And then there's Opera. No browser has brought more innovation when compared with the size of its user base. Tabs, the search box, and zoom all started with Opera. Though it can claim only about 2 percent of Internet users, that still means tens of millions who know about the browser's Speed Dial for getting to you favorite sites quickly, Turbo for speeding up slow connections, and Unite, which actually turns your computer into a Web server. Also unique to Opera are its tab stacking, mouse gestures, and built-in Bittorrent client.
For a deeper drill-down into each browser's speed performance, compatibility, and extra tools and features, read our in-depth reviews by clicking the links below.
Google ChromeGoogle Chrome 10

Chrome Instant means your Web page is ready to read before you finish typing the address. This, its speed, minimalist design, and advanced support for HTML5 have deservedly been attracting more and more users to the browser. The latest version adds an improved settings interface, and even more speed and security.
Setup Firefox 4

Firefox 4 gets Mozilla back into the game. This lean, fast, customizable browser can hold its own against any competitor, and it offers graphics hardware acceleration.

Windows Internet Explorer 9 Beta: Developer Tools Internet Explorer 9 (IE9)

Microsoft's new browser is faster, trimmer, more compliant with HTML5—a major improvement over its predecessor. It also brings some unique capabilities like tab-pinning and hardward acceleration, but only Windows 7 and Vista users need apply.
Opera 11 Opera 11

Like the other current browsers Opera is fast, compliant with HTML5, and spare of interface. Long an innovator, recently it's added unique things like Unite, which turns the browser into a server, and Turbo, which speeds up the Web on slow connections through caching. Though perhaps the biggest new feature in Opera 11—extension support—actually follows other browsers, the new version also innovates with tab stacking and visual mouse gestures.
Apple Safari 5 : Full Page Zoom Apple Safari 5

Safari is a fast, beautiful browser, but the new Reader view makes it even more enticing. Leading support for HTML 5 features will also be important, but you can already get that in other browsers, too. Safari's strong bookmarking, RSS reader, and vivid new-tab page will also appeal to many.

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