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War of Web Browsers

Which is the best beta browser to choose is still a question mark.

Version 7.0 of internet explorer has just been unveiled by Microsoft Corp. for Windows XP and boasts of enhanced security features, making everyday tasks easier.

Talking about IE 7, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager, Internet Explorer team, Microsoft, said, "We listened carefully to our customers, and are delivering a safer browser that makes the tasks they do every day much easier."

The security framework of the new explorer has been overhauled, and as a result of these enhancements, the browser will be a stand-alone application, rather than integrated with the Windows shell, and it will no longer be capable of acting as a file browser.

IE7 in Windows Vista contains additional security measures, most significantly �Protected Mode�, whereby the browser runs in a sandbox. As such, it can write to only the Temporary Internet Files folder and cannot install start-up programs or change any configuration of the operating system without communicating through a broker process. This increases the security of the system considerably.

The �Protected Mode� operation will not be included in the Windows XP version of Internet Explorer 7, as it relies on technologies not found on systems before Vista. It also supports the Parental Controls and Network Diagnostics features which are unique to Vista.

The security level of IE7 is vaunted to be high, but other browsers like Firefox, Safari, Netscape and Opera too vaunt of additional features and better security.

Mozilla Firefox, a free open source, cross-platform, graphical web browser developed by the Mozilla Corporation and hundreds of volunteers, has a spontaneous interface and blocks viruses, spyware, and popup ads.

The main features included with Firefox are tabbed browsing, incremental find, live bookmarking, a customizable download manager and a built-in search toolbar.

The new version of Firefox boasts of automatically upgrading the latest security and feature updates.

Safari, on the other hand, is a web browser developed by Apple Computer, Inc. and is available as part of Mac OS X. It was included as the default browser in Mac OS X v10.3 (Panther) and is the only browser bundled with Mac OS X v10.4 (Tiger).

Safari 2.0.4, the latest version, was released on June 27, 2006, and is packed with Apple's brushed metal user interface and has a bookmark management scheme that functions like the iTunes jukebox software. It also integrates Apple's QuickTime multimedia technology and features a tabbed-browsing interface similar to that of Firefox and Opera. The browser also includes an integrated pop-up ad blocker and a configurable image blocker.

Opera 9, developed by Opera Software, is the latest version unmasked on September 21, 2006. There are several new features in Opera 9. The most important ones are: Simple BitTorrent client, targeted towards novice users, content blocker (also known as AdBlock), thumbnail preview of tabs, site specific preferences (pop-up blocking, cookies, scripts, user style sheets, user-agent masking), the ability to create search engines from a textfield, improved rich text editing and redefined default hot keys to be more like Internet Explorer.

Netscape Communications Corporation(commonly known as Netscape), an American computer services company, best known for its web browser, was once dominant in terms of usage share, but lost most of its share to Internet Explorer during the first browser war. As of 2006, the usage share of Netscape browsers is under 1% and falling.

The company existed only from 1994 to 2003, latterly as a subsidiary of AOL, but the Netscape brand is still in use. In June 2006, Netscape redesigned their website to a totally different format which was similar to Digg. Users can vote for which stories are to be included on the front page, and may comment on them as well. Netscape's market share had been declining for over a year at the time of the change-over.

The current version of Netscape was released to mixed reactions. Some users really like that users had more participation ability, while others found the pages to be harder to navigate and not as structured. In fact, soon after the release of the new site, a story entitled �Netscape's Blunder� was the top rated story.

As of July 2006, estimates suggest that Firefox's usage share is around 12% of overall browser usage, with its highest usage in Germany (about 39%). The usage data gives Opera's overall global share of the browser market as being between 0.5% and 1.0%, although Opera's usage share is over 11% in Ukraine, over 8% in Russia, over 7% in Poland and over 6% in Lithuania.

Safari�s global share has been climbing ever since its release, but is still below 5%.

The adoption rate of Internet Explorer seems to be closely related to that of Microsoft Windows, as it is the default web browser that comes with Windows. Since the integration of Internet Explorer 2.0 with Windows 95 OSR 1 in 1996, and especially after version 4.0's release, the adoption was greatly accelerated: from below 20% in 1996 to about 40% in 1998 and over 80% in 2000.

Internet Explorer had almost completely superseded its main rival Netscape and dominated the market.

After having fought and won the browser wars of the late 1990s, Internet Explorer began to see its usage share shrink. Having attained a peak of about 96% in 2002, it has since been in a steady decline, likely due to the rapid adoption of Mozilla Firefox, which statistics indicate is the current most significant competitor.

Nevertheless, Internet Explorer remains the dominant web browser, with a global usage share of around 85%. Usage is higher in Asia and lower in Europe.

Money Times
Microsoft has decided to delay delivering Internet Explorer 7 via Automatic Updates until November to give companies and Web sites more time to get ready for full deployment of the Web browser, according to Gary Schare, the company's director of Windows Product Management. (The information comes to us from Preston Gralla of our sister publication Computerworld.)

Businesses need the time to set companywide policies for browser deployment and possibly recode any intranet sites that are not compatible with the new version of the browser. Similarly, public Web sites need the extra time to ensure that their sites are compatible, Gralla says.

Even when Automatic Updates is turned on in November, it won't be made immediately available to everyone. Rather, it will be a phased rollout, and IE7 will take three months to be delivered to desktops worldwide.

The exact speed of the rollout will be determined by the number of support calls received by Microsoft about the new browser. Microsoft said it decided to do a phased rollout so that it could properly staff support centers devoted to IE7 questions. The more support calls it receives, the slower it will deploy the browser via Automatic Updates; the fewer calls it receives, the faster it will deploy.

The exact dates and times of when individuals will receive Automatic Updates will be determined randomly by algorithms on Microsoft servers. Of course, you can download it yourself at anytime.

The update feature for IE7 will work slightly differently than other automatic updates because Microsoft believes that people should make a conscious decision before installing a new version of the browser, rather than having it happen automatically behind the scenes. So even those who have configured Automatic Updates to install software automatically will be asked after the download is complete whether to install the new browser.

PC World
I think I`ll be upgrading my browser:

Firefox 2.0 to set browser battles alight

Mozilla, the non-profit group that has become one of the biggest thorns in Microsoft’s side, will ramp up its assault on the world's largest software developer tomorrow when it releases a new version of its popular Firefox internet browser.

Firefox, which has been given considerable support by a number of Microsoft competitors, already accounts for up to 30 per cent of the market in some territories, Mozilla claims.

Developed by an "opensource" community made up of thousands of volunteers, including engineers on loan from Google, it has become the greatest rival of Microsoft’s market leading Internet Explorer.

Firefox is currently being downloaded by around 350,000 users a day, Mozilla says. The launch of Firefox 2.0, which Mozilla expects to accelerate the product's uptake, come just days after Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7, an updated version of its own browser, to mixed reviews.

Mike Schroepfer, vice president of Mozilla Corporation, told Times Online: "We’re not too concerned about Microsoft beating us in terms of release dates. In fact we’re quite amused that IE7 shipped only in English where Firefox will be released in around 30 languages."

Mozilla insiders have also been critical of what they see as Microsoft’s tendency to ship products that are not yet ready for the market. "From what I’ve seen so far of Vista [the forthcoming upgrade of Windows, Microsoft’s near ubiquitous operating system] Microsoft is still shipping to dates, rather than when products are ready," Mr Schroepfer said.

In line with its forebears, Firefox 2.0 will trade heavily on its claim to be more secure than Microsoft’s browser. It will include new protections against "phishing" – or internet identity theft by cybercriminals – through a tool that will tell users when they meet websites that are suspected forgeries, designed to capture personal details.

Other new features will include an "in-line" spell checker, that will highlight spelling mistakes users make online and more tightly-integrated search functions.

The updated search features in Firefox, which allow users to "manage" their choices of search engine, highlight in part the way that Mozilla earns tens of millions of dollars from companies such as Google and Yahoo!, by promoting their sites.

Mozilla was formed from the remnants of Netscape, the broswer company that lost its dominant market position to Internet Explorer in the 1990s. It commercial success has already forced the group to divide into two parts, the non-profit Mozilla Foundation and a commercial arm, the Mozilla Corporation, in order to operate under American laws controlling charities.

Times Online
We will just have to wait and see who comes out on top, personally I think FireFox is a much better browser and I upgraded to version 2 a couple of days ago.
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