One of the challenges of technology is that it changes at such a rapid clip that it’s difficult to keep up with and there are few hard and fast rules that you can depend on. I am amazed when I reread old columns and see that what I recommended just a short six months ago is not my first choice today. The moral of that story is that you must read my column every week.
Browser technology is one that moves at a rapid pace, driven by hardware manufacturers, by Web standards and the ever present passion for speed and constant need for security against new types of malware. I usually have recommended browsers to you based on which ones show content accurately and dependably, how safe they are and how fast; pretty much in that order.
Long time readers of this column know that I routinely recommend Firefox for safety, Chrome for speed and some of the others for one special feature or another. Many tech writers and others love to kick Internet Explorer, maybe because it’s the big guy or maybe in remembrance of their early attempts to monopolize the browser market. We must take another look at the latest version Internet Explorer 9 (IE9).
Here’s what PCMAG.COM says about IE9: “Microsoft’s new browser is faster, trimmer, more compliant with HTML5—a major improvement over its predecessor. It also brings some unique capabilities like tab-pinning and hardware acceleration, but only Windows 7 and Vista users need apply.”
There are many new features in IE9, but in addition to these; it’s fast and it is currently rated as pretty safe. Since IE is the world’s biggest browser, it will no doubt continue to be the number one target of the bad guys, so safe may not last long, but I am impressed with the speed. In my office on a Win 7 PC; IE9 beat Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Safari every time on the SunSpider Benchmark speed test (Google SunSpider Benchmark to run the test yourself).
One feature that I especially like is how IE9 helps you identify add-ons that may be slowing down your browsing speed. A yellow notification bar will appear at the bottom of your screen and identify add-ons that may be problematic. It’ll also help you remove or disable the ones of your choice. By the way, one of the most common problems is too many toolbars. If you are not using a toolbar, remove it or disable it so that it doesn’t take up space on your screen and use resources.
Please note that IE9 only works for Vista and Win 7 PCs. If you are still running Win XP, the latest version of IE available to you is IE8 for XP. I still recommend Firefox and Chrome for Win XP users. I see no advantage to using Safari on a Windows PC, but it is the default browser on my Mac (I also use Firefox and Opera on my Mac for some special features).
Maybe it’s time for you to test drive a new browser.