Time Warp Alert: Browser Wars Are Back

Apparently once just wasn’t enough.  In the spirit of skinny jeans, New Kids on the Block, Pez dispensers and the VW Bug, the browser wars are baaaack.

Yes, the storm clouds are gathering.  Off in the distance, we can see Safari 5, IE9, Chrome 5 and Firefox 4 in various stages of envisioning, development or launch.  And just like the good ole days, the combatants aren’t wasting any time in taking aim at the competition.  MG Siegler over at TechCrunch outlines the initial skirmish in what figures to be a protracted battle among 800 lb. heavyweights.

For those who haven’t yet waded in and taken a side in this looming battle, here are a few product reviews (or previews) from some well-respected sources:

We’re just beginning to experiment with the betas here in the uTest offices, but I’m curious to hear if any testers or devs have started using these new versions yet.  If so, drop us a comment and share your thoughts. What’s clear is that the latest round of browser wars will be fought along the lines of speed, tab management & placement, extension management and HTML5 support.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Comments

  1. says

    Rick – I agree with you that Firefox has the most mature extensions library, but it’s also been around the longest. Chrome’s extensions are immature, but they should get better.

    I’ve been using Chrome for a while now, and I do find it faster and more stable than Firefox. However, I never found Firefox to be all that bad to begin with. Chrome is better, but Firefox was still decent.

    Chrome has some nice usability improvements that I like. The tab bar is cleaner and the browser feels simpler. Of course, it’s a usability trick. Reduce clutter in your application and it will feel faster.

    On the other hand, I do miss a few things about Firefox. I loved the Awesome Bar (yeah, I said it). I keep trying to navigate using the Chrome URL bar and it just doesn’t compare. I’m also used to how Gecko renders pages, and WebKit has some idiosyncrasies I haven’t quite gotten used to.

    On the whole, I thing both browsers are strong. I use both daily, and I think both bring unique things to the table.

  2. RickRussellTX says

    –speed, ++extension management

    You can talk speed all day long, but ultimately, if I’m loading less crap than you are, I don’t need to be as fast.

    Stellar extensions for Firefox, like Adblock Plus, Flashblock and XMarks, make my browsing experience better than I can get on Chrome.

    There’s an Adblock for Chrome, but Google — an advertising supported company — hasn’t exposed enough API to actually block the loading of ads. So the extension goes back and “covers them up”.

    There’s a fork of the open source components of Chrome (ChromePlus) that integrates ad blocking, and if I wasn’t using Firefox I’d probably use ChromePlus.

    Although tabs are clearly the interface of choice right now, I see nothing essential about tabs — for example, a selection tool for open pages that worked like Expose’ on the Mac could easily supplant tabs in the next major interation of browsers.

    My mom uses that new Safari “top sites” view as her primary navigator — she was beside herself when she accidentally changed something and lost it.

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