IE8 vs Chrome vs Opera vs Firefox
For the second (and final) article in our Internet Explorer 8 series, it’s about time we saw how IE 8 stacked up compared to the other browsers currently available on the market, namely, Chrome, Opera, and Firefox. Fundamentally, IE8 has improved what IE7 began, but the question is has it improved enough relative to its competition?
Let’s start with a simple speed test. Speed-wise, tests run on the IE7 platform conclusively show that it isn’t even in the running for top spot as the "speediest" browser. As a matter of fact, in this article run by Lifehacker back in September (yes, it’s a month old, but it’s the most recent speed test run on beta browsers), IE 8 lost all the speed tests including the cold start, warm start, and CSS/Java speed tests. As a matter of fact, IE8 was shown to be the slowest of the bunch – which is in accordance with the older IE7 benchmarks.
On speed tests alone, IE8’s worth cannot be proven, because if that were the case, the speediest browser around is Opera, then Firefox, then Chrome. So let’s talk about features that help you browse, since IE8 has been positioned to help you take back your browsing experience.
IE8’s first offering is in the form of "Accelerators". Essentially, "Accelerators" speed up your browsing experience by mapping out things you do everyday. For instance, instead of individually keying in addresses into Google Maps, or using the trusty copy-and-paste method, the "Accelerator" maps out what you like to do and then does it for you with a single click.
Next, it features a "Compatibility View", one click of a button and the browser becomes compatible with older browser pages. Again, this is something that you could easily accomplish with a Firefox extension – on a browser that runs faster than IE.
"Web Slices" is one of the more interesting concepts. With a few lines of code, you can stay up-to-date on specific parts of a website. For instance, you could "web slice" an auction on Ebay, keep it in the top bar and let IE tell you when the website has changed the information. Again, to me, running the fastest browser is what I’m after, "web slices" are neat, but nothing that would make me give up Chrome.
Finally, Microsoft yanks some great features from Chrome to finish up the rest of the "features" list. First, is the infamous "InPrivate" mode – which is what colloquially some are calling the "porn mode." Of course, Microsoft insists that the mode is for "shopping for gifts in private without your family knowing". And the "smart search" feature from Chrome is also available.
Overall, some will think I’m biased against IE. That simply isn’t the case – I think IE had it’s time, and some excellent browsers have come to fill its place. Do I think everyone should upgrade to IE8? Definitely – you’ll be getting a version with far less bugs and quirks than IE7, and it’s always good to have a fall-back browser in case your preferred one fails. Should you be using IE in your everyday activities? Personally, I would try using one of the other three "big ones" available. I’m personally enjoying Chrome, but just a few months back, I would’ve said Firefox was number one.
The moral of the browser story is this – like all things on the Internet, these programs don’t just stand still – new creators come along and breathe new life into what was old, and you have to be the one to change with the times – for all you computer-saavy readers, if you’ve already ditched IE, good for you. For all you without such inclinations, you don’t have to leave a browser you know and enjoy, but I ask that you look into some of these other browsers – you may just find you’ve been missing out on some great new features.