Browser War: Google Chrome, IE8, Firefox 3 + Ubiquity

Been doing a lot of work related research around mobile browsers and usability lately. After reading the 38ish page comic about Chrome, watching videos about Ubiquity, and hearing Microsofties talk about how awesome IE8 was, I decided to just try all of them myself.

Initial impressions:

Firefox 3 + Ubiquity

I'd played around with Firefox 3 earlier this year, and although it is better than IE7, I'm a creature of habit, and it didn't offer me anything compelling enough to switch completely.

I installed Ubiquity as well as a bunch of commands from the Ubiquity herd. The Mozilla Labs video makes this this thing look sweet, but in reality, the "Natural Language Input" felt more like I was back in the early 80s playing Zork. Maybe I'll get used to it after a while. It has a lot of potential, but I don't know if I really find value in trying to make already simple tasks even simpler.

Chrome

Fast... very fast. V8 is pretty impressive. Puts even Firefox to shame. And there's so much screen real estate, which is something the other browsers could learn to value. It's still a pretty early beta, so there aren't many fancy features to write about. The main "new and different" thing that caught my eye is that you can undock tabs into their own windows. And you can move tabs or windows into other windows. Pretty handy. I often find myself with several browsers open, with pages I want to keep open, but want to move them all into the same window so I save on task bar real estate. And Incognito Mode would be handy for any young man wishing to visit questionable sites on their computer.

Internet Explorer 8

I was pretty scared to install this. IE8 is supposedly uncoupled from the shell and operating system, but I don't know if I buy that. And installing a beta product that can potentially make your whole system go haywire just gives me the willies. So I chose to install this on a VM. It's the same old same old for the most part. Three things caught my eye though.

  • The search bar anticipates what you are going to type and shows common searches in a drop down box, similar to how Google does on their home page. Not even Chrome does this!
  • It groups related tabs by color; if you open a new tab from a link, it will group those two tabs together.
  • Accelerators are kind of neat. It's sort of like having a list of all Ubiquity commands available up front. It would be nice if the Accelerators were smart enough to know when it is applicable to a highlighted selection, and filter themselves accordingly.

But all in all, the stability of IE8 was pretty solid from my experience.

 

I'm probably going to stick to playing with Chrome for a while. The extra screen real estate and fancy dockable tabs make me happy. Maybe as Ubiquity develops, I'll switch to that, but at the moment it is not compelling enough. And I've already resigned to the fact that we'll be putting Google Chips (TM) into our head by 2020.

1 comments:

KallOut said...

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As shown on http://kallout.com/product_tour.html, KallOut offers many more accelerator pages and it offers them in floating palettes that work for selections that you do inside any of the following apps:

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5. Adobe Reader

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Thanks,

Lee Lorenzen
CEO, KallOut -- a new way to search using only your mouse