Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

Now with the release of Google's Chrome browser and Microsoft's IE8 Beta, a new era of browser wars has begun. Firefox, Safari and Opera have made a bit of a dent taking about 20% of the market away from Microsoft but Google's Chrome browser threaten to be the first real competitor in the ring since the early days of Netscape.

What's good and bad about the browsers?

    Chrome - The Likes -

  • Google Chrome represents a fresh look at the user/browser experience and  design.

  • Fully isolated, multiprocess architecture should prove more robust than IE 8's.

  • I has a very clean and easy to navigate UI that will appeal to non power users. 

  • There is some innovative JavaScript tuning that helps to make it fast.

  • Chrome is fast. Very fast.

  • I like the fact the during a right click paste of an address, you can choose the efficient "Paste and Go" feature.

  • The fact you can drag a tab out of Chrome into a new self contained window. Very nice.

  • Chrome is basic, spare and efficient, an antidote to the busy, cluttered look of Internet Explorer, and the anxiety it can provoke once you get lost within its menus. (ie: Minimalist Approach)

  • It blocks pop up ads... except, (bad for the advertisers), it still "opens" the ad, just doesn't show them. So the advertisers get to pay, but the ads aren't seen.


    The Dislikes -

  • Privacy and licensing agreements. Seems Google assumed people don't read the End User License Agreement (EULA). We did and we were not happy.

  • I suggest removing the checkmark from the autosuggestion feature so as to not share your surfing habits (aka free marketing and data mining for Google) with Google.

  • It didn't take long for users to discover vulnerabilities in the beta browser. Several of these have already been patched.

  • Some sites and online services still don't work with Chrome.


    IE 8- The Likes -

  • Internet Explorer 8 injects some much needed life into the old standard.

  • The sturdier, multiprocess design means that crashes will be isolated to a single tab.

  • The InPrivate Browsing tool allows you to easily switch to a secure browsing mode. Chrome requires you to right click the link and choose open in a private session.

  • Quick-access tools (Accelerators, Web Slices) make browsing more efficient.

  • Many add ons for translators, direct map look up, Wiki look up, etc...

  • Searching IE 8's Smart Address Bar offers similar functionality to Chrome's Omnibox, letting you type in URLs or search terms and taking you to the right place.

  • Excellent privacy features.

  • Internet Explorer 8 probably holds more excitement and interest for Web developers and IT managers than everyday Web users. Microsoft has added a lot under the hood to make IE 8 beefier in terms of security and Web development tools. (ie: Kitchen Sink Approach)


    The Dislikes

  • IE 8's hefty system requirements will dissuade most users with a machine older then 3 cycles.

  • IE’s memory footprint was a beefy 195M, while Chrome’s was a comparably skinny 80M (average from 7 different sites).

  • While IE 8 does use separate processes for tabs, similar to Chrome's approach, it does not do so to the same degree — still leaving room for a total meltdown.

  • IE is slower.


    So what is the final thought. It does not matter. People will pick the winner based on good and bad experience. IE 8 will come in PC's, Google will become a download of choice and the war will rage on.

    So what does all this mean for Microsoft and Google?


    They are both still products in betas with many changes to be made before the final version is released. The proof is in the final product. The battle has begun but this will be a long war that will rage for awhile. No quick knockout here. The good news is that unlike most wars, the innocent bystanders get to be the winners while both sides battle it out to create a most favored product. C'est la gare!