I went ahead and installed Internet Explorer 9 on my test box to see what all the excitement was about. All that I can is that Microsoft has significantly raised the bar for the entire browser market. This level of innovation has not been seen out of Redmond in years. Internet Explorer is the “killer app” that is making me give up Linux to run Windows full time. I’ve already formatted my laptop and am currently backing up my desktop.
It’s pretty amazing, if you haven’t tried it yet, you really need to. This is what MS has needed to finally make users give up XP and adopt Win7. Once anyone is exposed to IE 9, then they automatically become a Windows convert. I am sure that I am not the only only one switching back to Windows so that I can run their obviously superior browser. It will be years before the other browser makers catch up to IE 9, and by then we will have IE 10 (or even 11!). Browser Wars 2 are over, and the results are the same. With IE being Windows only it is safe to say they will be re-claiming market share there, too.
[Edit: The reader should note the publication date of this post.]
Just over 6 months ago I ran a series of tests on the 5 leading internet browsers. For those just joining us, here are the results from February 2010.
And here is my summary from then:
These tests show IE failing miserably at every test, it came in dead last every time. Meanwhile, Google’s Chrome browser led the pack every time. Opera’s beta browser slightly edged out Safari although the difference as not that great. Firefox was some distance behind these but still in the running.
Today I ran a subset of those tests on the up to date versions of the same browsers. I used the same hardware and IE’s results should act as a control group.
These new results follow.
To me, the amazing thing is the overall improvement amongst all the browsers (IE has a new beta coming soon, it will be interesting to see if they get on the speed bandwagon.) Chrome still leads the bunch with each version faster than the previous. Opera furthers its edge over Safari (Safari was the only browser to suffer a regression.) Firefox moves solidly into the pack, breaking even with Safari and leaving IE to continue lagging.
It will be interesting to see if these speed increases can continue over the next 6 months and if IE 9 is the one that can put the brakes on MS’s browser share slide. This is far and away the healthiest I have ever seen the browser market.
We’ve all heard about Google getting hacked by the Chinese government, and their (Google’s) subsequent pulling out of the Chinese market. It was big news. Google even hacked the Taiwanese based servers used in the attack to trace it back to China. Big news, common knowledge.
But now, the attack code has been released. And lo and behold, it leverages a flaw in IE6. Google, the makers of Chrome, are running IE 6 on their corporate desktops. Here is a quote from Cnet:
Microsoft issued a warning on Thursday about the new hole and said it was working on a patch. The vulnerability affects IE 6, 7 and 8 on all the modern versions of Windows, including Windows 7, according to Microsoft’s advisory. Microsoft said IE 6 was the browser version being used on the computers that were targeted in the attacks.
WTF? The same people who think it is important to get the rest of the world off of IE 6 are using it themselves. This is fail of epic proportions.
I gotta say Wow! to Firefox 3. I installed the most recent beta on my Windows box and it is really nice. I don’t use that computer every day but in my short tests it is a truly superior browser.
I installed IE 8 beta, Opera 9.5 beta, Firefox 3 beta, and Safari 3.1 beta. Thought I would get a taste of what the future of browsing on Windows is. I find (and this is subjective, your milage may vary) that IE and Firefox offer the superiour experience over Opera and Safari. I tested them all in Vista both in Aero mode and in classic mode.
Opera has done nothing to change the UI from previous versions which makes it seem out dated. The navigation bar between the tabs bar and the main window is a major distraction. Opera’s UI is definitely more at home in classic mode. I did not try out the new features. Opera is still the far and away most feature complete out of the box web browser.
Safari looks the same in both windows modes and is basically the Leopard look. It is out of place and fugly in both modes. It is too dark when it has focus, Apple should have gone with the lighter non focus color. Except for the much discussed sub par font rendering and the entire UI, Safari is a fine browser. The main blocks to my getting used to Safari is its lack of opening with the previous tabs open feature and the lack of adherence to the keyboard shortcuts used by the other browsers.
IE takes the 7 edition UI and tweaks it in minor ways. I think the UI of 7.0 is the beginning of the new UI for web browsers in general. I don’t run IE, I hate malware and I just don’t get it in Firefox. I run no aditional security software on Vista (or on XP sp2 and beyond.) It has been years since I have had viri or malware. IE is the best looking browser using Aero but its looks fade in classic mode.
Firefox remains my top pick. It is solid and much more integrated with the OS in both Aero and classic modes. The visual changes are all a step in the right direction, I give the mozilla monsters credit for advancing this browser to the next level. I would like to see Thunderbird get this kind of love. I am currently not running version 3 on my main desktop, too worried of borking my system with conflicts in the repos. But I think I will get lots of use of running Prism as an extension–this feature will clearly be well worth the price of admission.
All four of these browsers show that the web is not standing still and neither is our way of using it.
Edit: One thing is clear from this quick look, Apple will not gain significant market share by including Safari as an update to Quicktime. I personally installed it as an update to iTunes, but I can’t imagine that I will ever use it. Remember that when S Jobs released Safari for Windows he stated that his goal was to kill off Opera and Firefox and to take a small sliver of IE’s share…he was up front about the objectives, now the method has become clear too.
More and more lately I’ve seen these sorts of “errors”. Usually kids, they think they are cute, or somehow getting over on MS. Personally. I use IE, Firefox, and Konquerer almost equally. I’ve been using Firefox since .7 and I generally like it.
There is a whole movement out there to get Firefox more support. I appreciate that, it is important that your browser not matter when surfing the net. That is the whole point behind net neutrality.
Then you have folks like the one linked above. Blocks content if you use IE. Then has the temerity to state that “your browser is out of date” so I am blocking content. Puts the person in the same boat as people like my bank. I get steamed when someone pops up a window in Firefox stating that it won’t work, but if I tell Firefox to pretend to be IE, it works fine. Now we have just the same but from the Firefox camp. Sure, that’s how you beat them…
But to state that IE 7 is out of date, arguably the most state of the art browser out there, is pure and utter nonsense.
Isn’t the whole point of the internet to work in any browser? If I use Lynx, the page should degrade nicely and be workable. I don’t get it….
Edit Note: I removed the ornery attitude (swear words and personal attacks) from this post.