Browser Battle: Firefox 3.1 vs. Chrome vs. IE 8

The browser wars are heating up by the week. Here is a breakdown of the browser battle lines for Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.

Mozilla's second alpha of Firefox 3.1 is upping the ante in the next-generation browser battle. So how do the main contenders stack up so far now? One thing's for sure, the Firefox team has taken note of Google's recent Chrome release and worked hard to make sure its offering can hold its own.

Mozilla's second alpha of Firefox 3.1 is upping the ante in the next-generation browser battle. So how do the main contenders stack up so far now? One thing's for sure, the Firefox team has taken note of Google's recent Chrome release and worked hard to make sure its offering can hold its own.

Mozilla had already claimed its 3.1 version could outperform Chrome when it comes to speed (and most independent tests show it at least tying). Now, the engineers have incorporated Chrome-initiated options such as the ability to drag and drop tabs in and out of browser windows. The second alpha release also adds support for the HTML 5 video tag, which gives Web developers expanded options for embedding video within a page. Don't forget, too, that Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 -- released at the end of August and quickly eclipsed by Chrome's introduction -- is also vying for a piece of the pie.

Here's a breakdown of the high and lowlights of each offering and where it stands as far as a full release.

Contender #1: Google Chrome

The status: Windows beta released September 2. Mac OS X and Linux versions still under development and said to be coming soon. No indication of targeted full release date.

The good:

  • Reliability. Chrome's multiprocess architecture makes a bad Web page less likely to take down the whole browser.
  • Speed. Chrome loads fast and keeps your surfing super-fast.
  • Simplicity. Its clean design wastes no screen space.
  • Searching. The Omnibox lets you type search terms or URLs into a single spot and figures out what you want.
  • Privacy. Chrome offers an "Incognito" mode that lets you easily leave no footprints from where you've been.

The bad:

  • Privacy. Chrome's taken a lot of heat for its monitoring and collection of user data, some of which happens before you even hit enter.
  • Security. It didn't take long for users to discover vulnerabilities in the beta browser. Several of these have already been patched.
  • Reliability. Some sites and online services still don't work with Chrome.
  • Consistency. Because Chrome is build on the WebKit system, it differs from the dominant platforms that most designers focus on.
  • Support. Chrome doesn't yet have any add-ons or customization options available. It's yet to be seen how these, once developed, will compare to the rich options available for Firefox.

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