Browser War: Who Rules the Web?

Browser War: Who Rules the Web?

By Binu Paul, SiliconIndia   |   Thursday, 28 April 2011, 14:53 Hrs   |    10 Comments
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Browser War: Who Rules the Web?
Bangalore: The decades old browser war is heating up again. The beginning of the browser war can be traced back to late 1990s when Microsoft's Internet Explorer replaced Netscape's Navigator as the browser king and to the emergence of a new bunch of browsers such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera and Safari. The question over what is the best web browser has been debated over and over again but it never gets settled as each updation from a browser invites another from the rival and the game goes on and on.

Microsoft has recently announced the launch of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and many believe that with this, Microsoft has once again made a strong come back to the browser game with a competitive Web browser. Although Internet Explorer remains the most-used browser today, its share of usage has been steadily diminishing as the new browsers took up the key to innovation.

The recent releases and upgrades have intensified the completion. While on March 8, Google released Chrome 10, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 on March 14. Mozilla was quick to release its Firefox 4.0 on March 22.

According to the December 2010 report by StatCounter, Firefox 3.5 was ranked the most popular browser when counting individual browser versions, passing Internet Explorer 7 and 8 by a small margin, but not more than two months later IE 8 had regained itself and established as the most popular browser version. The latest report by StatCounter indicates that Internet Explorer holds 45 percent of the global market share, Firefox comes second with 30 percent, Chrome 17 percent, Safari 5 percent, and Opera 2 percent.

The speed element has become the central point in the browser world with each search engines gives utmost importance to the speed of the JavaScript engine. While Firefox 3.6 has TraceMonkey, Firefox 4 relies on JagerMonkey. Chrome uses V8, IE9 has Chakra and Opera's works with Carakan. With these special tools and specific names, the browser's are taking speed to a new high and many of them are seven times faster than they were just a year or so ago.

Safety has been a concern for the internet users and all the players in the browser market have been trying to offer the best measures for safe browsing. IE9 has come up with SmartScreen filters which will run web pages containing suspicious downloadable attachments through a database of all known programs and websites to keep the users protected from online criminals. Google has also developed a real-time alert system that prevents users of its Chrome web browser from downloading malicious materials. Chrome does this with the help of the database from its Safe Browsing API. According to a research done by NSS Labs, an independent security product testing and certification organization, Internet Explorer was ranked the safest browser with 69 percent catch rate against Malware. Mozilla Firefox came second with 30 percent and then comes Apple Safari with 24 percent.

Plug-ins and extension play a big role in users selecting browsers. Firefox continues to dominate here with the most extreme API that allows for a verity of extensions and plug-ins, with many having their own sub-extensions. However, Safari has a similar API to Chrome and Opera is working on a similar JavaScript-based plug-in framework.

The next level of browser war is unpredictable as the players constantly try to bring out the faster and safer browsers with a whole lot of interesting features. As a matter of fact, the difference between the browsers is gradually narrowing and it will be a tough task for the users to pick the best browser.

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Reader's comments(10)
1: Good for users ... as long as they all are free
Posted by:Rekha Mhalaskar - 04 May, 2011
2: This is joke Opera is behind in race. It is similar condition when most talented person is behind the race.

I would give 10/10 to Opera. After a lot of trial i found opera is best suitable browser for browsing. Many times i found it give better browsing experience than Mozilla and IE. some time Mozilla and IE gets hang while browsing but Opera handle it nicely. Memory usage by Opera is far less compared to Mozilla and IE.

Thumb up for Opera
Posted by:vishal bhandare - 28 Apr, 2011
3: I will stay with IE or the browsers based on IE,because it's safe and I didn't find any attractive features for me in chrome and firefox so still use avant browser
Posted by:llee - 28 Apr, 2011
4: Competition is good for users. as it will force the competitors drive through innovations, user satisfaction, speed etc. Clearly at this moment we have lot of choice choosing the browsers chrome, firefox , IE & safari.., Firefox 4's speed is improved a lot, because of chrome.
Posted by:Jayaprakash S - 28 Apr, 2011
5: Browser speed means Java Script Engine Speed All those browsers are talking about Java Script Engine Speed. In my little experiance, web pages are designed using HTML. Java Script is not essential for a web page. Then why those are speaking about Java Script Engine speed only

Web is not Java Script oriented. In HTML5, we can avaoid many scripts by using native HTML code. So think before taking your decition. IE is clear winner.
Posted by:Anish - 28 Apr, 2011
I am a senior citizens and I used to use IE but now I have switched to Chrome for its simplicity of use and fastness in loading.Moreover IE 9 cannot be down loaded as i use XP.Microsoft is interested in making money only.
captainjohann Replied to: Anish - 28 Apr, 2011
7: The desktop is only part of the story. The mobile web is a destination many make their way using their phones. The browsers and other technology are providing access for many without a PC.

Browsing is only one way to access the web. Specific functional applications are another that meet users needs such as search. Browsing in mobile land is not a great experience.

For Information purpose: Our company biNu provides fast access to internet on mobile phones. Not just smart phone.

Posted by:Mark Shoebridge - 28 Apr, 2011
8: please fix your commenting system. it says that I have illegal words, but it is all clean. no swearing or vulgarities. you would get more comments if you fix that.
Posted by:Aaron - 28 Apr, 2011
this article is slanted in ie's favor. almost any other cites besides those used by the author show FF as the clear market leader, and chrome as the king of security.
aaron Replied to: Aaron - 28 Apr, 2011
Please! Firefox is nowhere near being the clear market leader and Chrome is nowhere near the king of security. Firefox has been losing share steadily, as has IE, to Chrome and IE is still the clear market share leader. As for security, IE and to a lesser extent, Firefox, are way more targeted than any other browser and for obvious reasons: They easily hold the largest market right now and therefore, the largest appeal to malware makers and crackers. No one goes out of their way to target browsers that hold 12% or less of market share, just as they don't go out of their way to target OSX, Linux, etc. Also, a browser is really only as secure as the OS it's running on because the majority of security vulnerabilites will be in the OS, which is a far more complicatd and thusly, far more holes to be exploited. Don't let things like Pwn2Own fool you when it comes to vulnerabilities. The vast majority of people out there know much more about Windows, IE, Firefox than they do about Chrome, Linux, etc. They've been hacking these systems for a long time and the info for doing so is far more readily available to anyone who chooses to search for it. That doesn't make those choices with less market share more secure, it just makes them less appealing for anyone to crack and henceforth, less info and a smaller number of people even trying. Every system and browser is not secure, it's just a matter of whether or not it's worth exploitng in the bigger scheme of things. There has never been a piece of secure software and there never will be. No group of programmers is perfect and that's what it would take to make such a thing.
Stewed Replied to: aaron - 01 May, 2011