Browser Battles: Firefox–Chrome – IE

image of WWW on gold

I’ve been a longtime fan and user of Mozilla Firefox. It’s been far from perfect but the extensions had me hooked. As for IE, I’ve been a longtime hater. But that’s been changing recently.

The company I work for during the day stipulates Internet Explorer, even worse, until recently it’s be IE 6. I went rogue when IE 7 came out and installed that so I could at least get tabs. The company is finally transitioning so I’ve been in the IE 8 testers group since it’s inception so at least I’ve been using a sanctioned browser. Like many large companies the biggest problem was internal sites or applications that didn’t work with IE 7 or 8. There’s still some isolated problems with IE 8 but those app owners are being forced to get their act together. The point of this is I’ve been using Internet Explorer 8 during the day and it hasn’t sucked.

In my world I keep a wall between work and home so I don’t have a need to share work related bookmarks, add-ins or anything else (not to mention security issues if I try to use an external service) so IE8 can be an island to itself and it’s been fine. But it hasn’t been so fine that I wanted to bring the experience home.

At home it’s been Firefox across all platforms. The add-ins gave me all the features I wanted. Unfortunately they also contributed to some instability and less than great performance. If I didn’t shutdown and restart Firefox regularly I’d eventually be forced to do it. Still, it was better than IE or Safari.

Then about 6 weeks ago I gave Google Chrome another try. I worked it’s way in to be my default browser and then Chrome 6 came out and solidified that position. I don’t do too much web browsing on my Mac so I may not have come across so issues, but it’s been peppy and stable. On Windows it’s been rock solid and has performed nicely.

I like the ability to sync bookmarks, preferences and extensions (plus a couple things I don’t care about). This makes new installations easy. I also like incognito mode since it allows be to open multiple Google Apps for Domains and Google mail accounts at the same time.

And now IE 9 has entered the public beta phase. I installed it on my laptop and have been giving it a spin. I almost ashamed to admit it, but I like it. It’s been fast and gets out of the website’s way. It feels very Chrome-like. The add-ins I want (LastPass, Evernote, and Delicious) all worked fine after the upgrade. They seem to have emphasized performance as during the first startup after the install I was told how much each add-in contributed to the startup time and was given the option to disable them.

Google Chrome will continue to be my default browser due to the cross-platform ability. Internet Explorer 9 will get added to my other Windows boxes (it seems stable despite being a beta) and I won’t hesitate to use it on sites that insist on being IE specific. I also use it for general browsing to get a fee for it. There’s an outside chance IE 9 could replace Google Chrome for me. I wouldn’t have expected to say this 4 months ago, but Mozilla Firefox is the odd browser out. I’ve no reason to use it, at least until Firefox 4 comes out, even though I like it.