Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome
Are you confused?June 4, 2009
by Barry MacQuarrie, CPA
Most of us use Internet Explorer on a daily basis and don’t give it a second thought. Microsoft has made it simple to use their Web browser. All you have to do is click the little blue “E” and you’re on the Internet. But, is there a better choice? Has the competition built a better mouse trap?
Whether you like Internet Explorer or not, you should definitely look at the alternatives. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
I Didn’t Know I Have Options
If you have used Google recently, you may have seen an ad that looks like this:
The advertisement shows that Internet Explorer is not the only way to access the Internet, despite what Microsoft wants us to believe. In fact, according to statistics found at Browser News and W3Counter’s Global Web Stats, Microsoft’s overwhelming dominance in the browser space is slowly slipping away.
The most popular alternative to Internet Explorer is Firefox from Mozilla. Depending on who you listen to, their share of the browser market is somewhere between 10 percent and 30 percent. The newest competitor to Internet Explorer is Google Chrome. It was only released in September 2008 and has been slowly gaining market share ever since. Finally, Apple started competing against Internet Explorer when they introduced a Windows version of their popular browser, Safari.
Why Consider a New Browser?
We’ve all heard the pundits say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If I were one that follows this philosophy, I might still be using my Motorola StarTAC, after all, it worked great!
Although Internet Explorer works, there are several good reasons to look at one of the alternative Web browsers. You may just find something that works better and faster for your daily Web browsing.
Mozilla’s Web site lists the following reason why you should switch to their Firefox product:
As much as we all love “free stuff,” this is not a benefit of Firefox. All the browsers discussed in this article are available for free.On Chrome’s features Web site, they state “Google Chrome is a browser that combines a minimal design with sophisticated technology to make the Web faster, safer and easier.” Instead of listing features and benefits, Google has posted videos that show you the many benefits of Chrome. There has been a lot of splash surrounding Google’s new product, but I would advise you to tread cautiously. There has also been a lot of concern about the security practices of Google Chrome.
Apple’s Web site showcases several new features that they added to their latest version of Safari. The Cover Flow feature allows you to “flip through your site history or bookmarks like you flip through albums on iTunes.” It will be interesting to see if Apple can leverage their success with iTunes and the iPhone and make Safari appealing to Windows users.
But What If I Don’t Want to Change
When asked, most of us will admit that we don’t like change. So, what if that’s you and you just don’t want to learn a new browser. There is hope. Microsoft continues to improve Internet Explorer and add new features with each release.
In order to perform a fair comparison between Internet Explorer and the competition, you need to use the latest version of all products. Depending on the age of your computer, you may be running a very old version of Internet Explorer. Microsoft released Internet Explorer version 8 in March 2009.
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web site includes the following list of “What’s New in Internet Explorer 8”:
Proceed With Caution
I have all four Web browsers mentioned in this article on my computer. However, my default is still Internet Explorer. Before you switch browsers, you need to do your homework.
What should you do to determine which browser is the right choice? Here are some ideas:
Don’t be afraid to test these new browsers. Just do so with caution. The new products offer some very impressive features and may just improve your productivity.
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Barry MacQuarrie, CPA, is the Director of Technology at KAF Financial Group. MacQuarrie has extensive experience working with CPA firm technologies and expertise in workflow, process improvement, disaster recovery planning, security and paperless office technologies.