The browser wars are heating up again, with two new releases and one scheduled for next week. Google, Microsoft and Mozilla have met on the front lines, each ready to prove their browser is the fastest, coolest and most secure.
Chrome 10 boasts a new settings interface. This nifty little feature pulls up a new browser tab with its own search box. Another cool feature lets you help your not so tech-savvy friends adjust their own Chrome settings. Now that setup options reside on a tab rather than a dropdown list, the address of the exact section of the setup displays in the browser address box. Simply copy and paste it into an email to send to your friend. All they need to do is copy and paste the address in their browser address box, hit enter and the setup section they need opens for them.
Passwords, bookmarks and themes can be synchronized across computers.
Security has been beefed up as well. Chrome’s sandboxing technology has been extended to the integrated Flash Player, offering an extra layer of protection against malicious webpages.
Firefox 4 RC
Firefox 4 Release Candidate was released earlier this week. Tabs have a new location, resting above the address bar now. Not only do tabs have a new home, they can be dragged, dropped into groups, organized, named and arranged.
The Release Candidate supports CSS3, HTML5 and an experimental Web Console that allows developers to peek under the hood of dynamic web pages. WebGL will bring 3D graphics to Firefox, providing developers the ability to create new visualizations.
Crash protection has been incorporated into the browser. Now when an app crashes, the browser doesn’t crash with it. Simply reload the page and try again.
Internet Explorer 9
Microsoft has announced they will officially release IE9 on March 14th. The browser is much faster and the interface is cleaner.
The simplified user interface displays only the controls that are necessary for browsing, to maximize screen space. The new toolbar is considerably smaller and the address bar and search box have been combined into one box, called (you guessed it) One Box. Tabs are on the same toolbar row as One Box, however, there is an option to move the tabs to a separate row if you find the single toolbar results in tabs flowing off the
A new feature, pinned sites, may prove useful to users of IE9. Drag the tab (or the icon to the left of the address bar) to your Windows taskbar and it will remain there until you remove it, always ready to open not only the browser but that exact webpage
whenever you need it. You can even group multiple pages to a single pinned site, a definite bonus to researchers.
Not to be outdone in the security arena, IE9 now has InPrivate Browsing and Tracking Protection, both of which are turned off by default. The tracking protection feature allows you to block certain domains or specify how your information is shared. To enable Tracking Protection, you’ll need to subscribe to a list from a trustworthy source such as
Abine, PrivacyChoice, TRUSTe and EasyList. Alternatively, you can create your own custom list.
It’s stacking up to be an interesting battle. Will one of the browsers come out on top?
Will Microsoft lose some of its margin and where will Safari fit into all of this?