Browser Wars

Surfing the Web may look very different soon.

PCs these days come with Microsoft Windows and that means that they all come with Microsoft Internet Explorer built in. Most businesses in fact use Microsoft Internet Explorer as the standard browser (that is, the screen which provides the "look and feel" while surfing the Web) on company computers.

Microsoft released a new version, Internet Explorer 7, in October 2006 for Windows XP Service Pack 2 users which looks and acts quite different from Internet Explorer 6 (the version to which you are most likely accustomed, released in 2001).

Internet Explorer 7 looks so different because the new version of Windows (Windows Vista, forthcoming in 2007) looks a lot different from Windows XP.

IE 7 has now caught up to some of its main rivals (especially Firefox) in that it, for the first time, also features tabbed browsing. (This means that you can open new Internet windows without having to open a separate new screen for each window each time. It makes switching from one window to another much quicker and easier and also saves space on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen).

In this new version, you can also tell IE7 to remember which tabs you normally have open and automatically open those Web pages as tabs the next time you bring up IE7. (This could be a real timesaver.) Plus, you can get thumbnail previews of all of your open tabs on a separate page (which is something not available to Firefox users yet. [Note: Firefox also has just released a new version, Firefox 2, also in October 2006.]).

Both IE7 and Firefox 2 have anti-phishing features. Phishing is the Web version of "fishing for information". Except it is done by bad guys "fishing" for your credit card & identity, etc. information. You do NOT want to release any personal information by clicking within a phishing site, which is trying its best to look like a legitimate site to fool you.

If a page is on a known phishing blacklist, IE7 simply blocks that site. Firefox also compares sites to a list but only issues a warning if a match is found.

For a history of the browser wars, please see Browser Review.

You don't have to delete Microsoft Internet Explorer to download a free copy of Firefox. (It doesn't hurt to have more than one browser on your computer at the same time. Only one will be the default browser, however.) So feel free to download Firefox just to see what you are missing!

For more information see:

  • Microsoft
  • Firefox 2
  • Browser (NetLingo definition)
  • Radically New IE 7 or Updated Mozilla Firefox 2--Which Browser Is Better?
  • Browser Review
  • Internet Explorer 7 (Cnet.com)
  • IE7 slide show (Gives an overview)
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    Last Modified: 11/25/2006