Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Firefox: No Longer King of the Browser Hill?

After nearly seven years of telling Windows users to "Get Firefox!" I've finally stopped - Internet Explorer 8 is faster, just as secure, and has an excellent feature set. I'm not just whistling Dixie here - I deal with hundreds of Windows computers across 5 states. I see users of Firefox with spyware and extra browser bars just as often as I see IE users with those sorts of junkware. IE 8 adheres more closely to web standards and displays web pages the way the author intended. Firefox does - usually. Have you ever connected to Outlook Web Access with Firefox? It sucks. I won't explain why, I'll just wait while you try it.

OK, next up, IE 8 is just plain faster than Firefox 3.5. Take a Pentium 3 with 256MB of RAM and Windows XP, install IE 8 and Firefox 3.5 (go on, I'll wait, this will take a while . . .) then surf the web. IE 8 is faster, and it is most noticeable on older computers.
Also, Google Chrome is cool too. It's fast, displays web pages well, but it works the same as Firefox if you hit Outlook Web Access. On the up side it's new enough that it's a tiny target for malware.

OK, now for my Mac followers: Quit with the Firefox and try Safari. The latest updates have made it super fast, and its interface reminds me of a cross between Firefox and Google Chrome. The Top Sites feature is great eye candy, check the picture at the right.
Best of all, Flash (Shockwave) games work better in Safari. A good example is the Star Wars Clone Wars game my son plays on Cartoon Network. It loads much, much faster on Safari, then actually works. Lets see Firefox do that!

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