If you’re using Internet Explorer to read this post, please read on.
Before always-on internet connections, I used AOL, Netscape, or Internet Explorer to access the internet. Those days of poorly constructed internet browsers are over. Companies are producing polished programs for us to browse. These programs not only look good, but increase the speed, security, and ease of browsing the interwebs.
Browsers should be organic; they need to have a natural flow, just like designing the layout for a room in your home. Anything that is superfluous needs to be discarded. Let’s take a look at IE and it’s default homepage.
There are so many things here that we don’t need in a browser – a lot of blank unused space in the top of the browser, a poorly placed favorites menu, and those controls on the top right (page, safety, tools) that don’t need to be there. There are ads all around the default MSN homepage, and silly news stories that I really don’t care about. The browser is bloated, slow, proprietary, and attempts to look flashy to make up for it’s shortcomings.
Why would a company as large as Microsoft have a browser that is agreeably poor? One answer is that they are spreading themselves thin. Think about it – Microsoft makes and maintains the following:
- office software
- internet browser (IE)
- search engine – Bing
- video games
- Windows Mobile
- email service (Hotmail)
- virus scanner (Windows Defender)
- media format (.wmv)
- media player (Windows Media Player)
For a large company, that list in itself isn’t long. However, think of how much variety those things have; operating systems, video games, and internet browsers are not all that similar. Let’s compare that list to Google…
- Chrome OS (in development)
- Google Phone
- search engine
- Google Docs
- Google Earth
- Other companies they own (YouTube, Picasa, etc.)
- Firefox (browser)
- Thunderbird (email)
- Lightning (calendar)
- Seamonkey (dev tools)
It appears that Microsoft has a bunch of things on their development plate, and I’m left to question how many resources and how much focus they can devote to their internet browser. When you control over 90% of the home computer market, why bother making an amazing internet browser? In this case, the browser in and of itself is not going to bring in a sale.
Seeing this lack of any really great browser, companies that devote their time to web products jumped into browser development. Mozilla came first, with a platform built off the Netscape architecture. With Firefox as their main product, they put all their efforts into making it an amazing program – Firefox was the first browser to bring tabbed browsing into the mainstream and allow for modular add-ons from third party developers.
Chrome was released in late 2008, and incorporated all the great ideas from Firefox. Chrome is different in small ways from Firefox, and since Google is such an internet goliath with years of making great products and services, it’s as good of a browser as Firefox.
Internet Explorer is Awful
With these other companies that devote their time so much to developing the perfect browser, it’s clear that Microsoft probably can’t compete. Based off of my testing and opinion, and supported by many other sources, IE is slower, more prone to attack, less updated, poorly laid out, and not as good looking as these other two browsers. Both Chrome and Firefox are constantly updated with not only bug fixes, but new features and looks.
That’s enough arguing my case, let’s look into how to install these browsers.
Before we go further, please keep in mind that having more than one browser installed is a waste of space. [Unless you're a tech person like me and you need to troubleshoot issues in multiple browsers.] If you download both of these browsers to test them out, that’s great! Just make sure that once you’ve made your decision, you uninstall the other one.
First off, Firefox is the browser I use on both my Mac and Windows machines, so if you’re looking for the official Propellerhead Recommendation, here it is.
I recorded a screencast of how to install Firefox:
Firefox has an amazing depth of customization and ability. I’ll expand on some need-to-know features in later posts.
Again, I do love and recommend Firefox over Chrome, but that’s not to say that Google has made themselves a really cool browser. Chrome took all of the best aspects of Firefox and really made them their own.
Here’s how to install Chrome:
Which browser do you use? IE, Firefox, and Chrome are the largest three browser out there, but there are still others such as Opera, Safari, and more. After switching from IE to one of these browsers, how do you like it? Let us know in the comments below.
Thumbnail image courtesy of: www.neowin.net