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Browser Wars

How much thought do you put into your browser? For many, the answer is probably "not much." For years, I lived with Internet Explorer (IE)—thinking it was the sole survivor after Netscape faded into oblivion. Some of you have probably had your internet service upped to get better speeds. Maybe you switched from DSL to cable or vice-versa. Maybe Fios was your answer. While those are important factors, it just might be your browser slowing you down. Let me say this — if you're still using Internet Explorer, you're wasting your time.

It's less than a year since I first discovered that there was life beyond the painfully slow, close-then-reopen, hanging-up ways of Internet Explorer. I was freed first by Safari. Wow, who knew browsing could be fun again? No hanging up, speeds that began to live up to the promise of the internet. Sure, some websites will not open in Safari—but that's OK, I'll use IE in those few situations. Then a few months ago, I tried Firefox. You have to love a program that looks for your cookies and bookmarks and installs them (if you want) when you install the program. Wow, and what are these add-ons? I can do more than surf the internet, I can interact with other programs on my computer—launched from the speedy confines of my browser? This is exciting, and practical. Downloading is clean and easy to use. For the last 3 months, I'm happy—I'm opening multiple tabs, speeding along, cringing every time I have to open IE for that ONE program that only uses IE. I detest having to open that program on these occasions. The IE symbol gives me the chills, makes me angry, and symbolizes the useless stagnation of this critical software. Once finished with this temporary regress, I return to even better in 3.0. Its open-sourceness dominates my desktop real estate. All is well.

Then, last week, enter Chrome, Google's foray into the browser war. I'm a fan of trying anything from Google—though they're not all winners(love Gmail, don't love Google desktop). Could this be better than Firefox? I had to try. Speed--It seemed slower than Firefox at first, slightly, and now seems faster, slightly. Design is not radically different, but does offer a spacious window with less clutter. I like this. It has a "paste and search" option off right click—nifty, saves me at least 30 nanoseconds per use. Sorry mac users, not available for you just yet. I'm not sure which I'll end up using—but the choice for me is between the new top two: Firefox or Chrome. Open source appeals to me in the same way a mom and pop bookshop does. But Google is a bit like bog box stores—hate their methods, love their prices. Ultimately the fastest browser with the most options will win my vote. For now, I say, try them all.