Wednesday, 17 January 2007

What is the best Web Browser?

We live in a world where internet access is all around us, be it in our living room, at the local library, internet café, planes, trains and WiFi hotspots. We can pretty much have access to high speed internet wherever and whenever we want. So we want to ensure that we are using the right software in order to not only keep safe against threats on the internet but also to make browsing as easy and pleasurable as possible.

Security is probably one of, if not the most important factor when choosing a web browser. There has been much talk in the past couple of years as Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has become a hackers paradise due to massive security holes. Because, of this, people started seeking other browsers and this is when Mozilla Firefox grew. People felt Firefox was much more secure due to its more frequent updating, remembering that Microsoft hadn’t released a version of Internet Explorer for about 5 years.

Tabbed Browsing
Browsing experience is probably the second most important factor. No one likes opening window after window to navigate through a different site, so many browsers took this and created a new style of browsing, tabbed browsing. This enabled users to open multiple sites in one window allowing for easier navigating of more than one website at the same time. Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Maxthon and Netscape all have integrated tabbed browsing and now Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 finally follows the same method. This is a proven method of more efficient browsing.

Integrated Search
Search engines are the first place that people go to find a website so, integrated search is a feature that you should find in most good browsers. It enables you to search from the application windows instead of having to go to a search engine and searching from there.

A lot of people (including me) prefer to read from a sheet of paper, so printing is important for a web browser, but printing a web page is different from printing a document because a webpage can be any width it likes meaning that when you print a web page you will only get half of the page, this is extremely annoying. Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 has advanced printing technologies included which will resize the page so that it fits onto the sheet properly.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0
Microsoft have massively improved Internet Explorer since version 6.0, Version 7.0 offers advanced security, tabbed browsing and an easy to use interface (in their quest to remove menus). It also includes a one click solution for deleting your browsing history. Advanced printing allows for better results on your printouts and an integrated search makes your browsing easier. It also offers RSS feed reading and better CSS support.

Mozilla Firefox 2.0
Mozilla have just released their new version of the Firefox browser. Firefox has become one of the most popular web browsers during the past couple of years, offering advanced security, phishing protection and tabbed browsing as well as plugin support. In version 2.0 Mozilla have improved the interface without making it look too different from previous versions. Other features include RSS feed reader, download manager and integrated search.
It also has a section in the help file aimed at helping Internet Explorer users.

These two browsers are the biggest web browsers around, so would be perfect for normal users due to the massive amount of help and support available.

Opera 9.0.2
Opera’s Browser includes many extras including widgets (little applications that run inside the program). It is an attractive application with button effects to make your browsing experience as enjoyable as possible. Tabbed browser and an
integrated search are also part of the application.
Opera can also read out text on web pages (you’ll need to install and add-on). Opera’s browser is for people who want to use a browser not just for browsing but for more of an experience.

Netscape Browser
Netscape is based on both Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox which means you set pages to look and feel like they are in either of the two browsers by simply clicking an option. Netscape includes an advanced security centre which runs inside the application making it extremely secure. It looks good as well enabling you a good browsing experience, tabbed browsing and integrated search add to this. It also has support for RSS feeds.

Maxthon 10.02
Maxthon boasts over 70,000,000 downloads and is based on Internet Explorer but gives you a massive library of features including tabbed browsing, integrated search, ad hunter, plugin enabled, skins, and much more. It looks like Internet Explorer 6 and has good language support. It is perfect for anyone who wants more from their browser.

Flock is built on top of the Mozilla Firefox engine and is designed for people who want to share and collaborate content on sites like YouTube and MySpace. It offers publishing pictures to a blog or photo sharing page through dragging an image from a bar at the top and dropping it into the content box on the website. This browser can still be used like Firefox but isperfect for people who delve into the world of blogging and sharing. Based on Mozilla’s Firefox engine it offers advanced security, tabbed browsing and integrated search.

So, what is the best web browser? Well, it depends on what you want:

If you want security go for Mozilla Firefox, this gets updated every so often so up to date security is always available.

If you want features go for a browser that is built on an engine like Maxthon. Netscape also offers many advanced features.

If you want good support then go for Internet Explorer, millions of users worldwide ensure any problems you may have will have some helpsomewhere on the internet.

If you are a blogger or photo sharer then use Flock, it is specifically designed for this purpose.

I cannot answer this question, it all depends on personal preference. You need to test out browsers and see for yourself but for regular browsing I suggest Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0, it is a brand new version and offers the latest security and features to make your browsing as efficient as possible.

Have your say. What is the best web browser?
Vote on the Simnor Forum:

Simon North, October 2006

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