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Summary:

There were several important updates on the browser front this week, from Mozilla, Microsoft and Google. From where I sit, there is very healthy competition going on in the browser market right now, and if you’re a web worker who favors only one browser, there may […]

There were several important updates on the browser front this week, from Mozilla, Microsoft and Google. From where I sit, there is very healthy competition going on in the browser market right now, and if you’re a web worker who favors only one browser, there may soon be some prompts for you to switch or mix up your usage.

Die-hard Internet Explorer users will have to wait until 2009 for a final version of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft confirmed. There won’t even be another release candidate until the first quarter. It offers malware protection and other improvements, but is taking a relatively long time in development.

Meanwhile, Google has confirmed that it will deliver Mac and Linux versions of the open source Chrome browser in the first half of next year. The company has also confirmed plans to strike deals with OEMs to put Chrome on new computers as the default browser. We discussed both pieces of news on OStatic today. The move to make Chrome the default browser on new computers is particularly significant. That’s how Internet Explorer gained its dominance.

Mozilla’s Mitchell Baker delivered a post this week in which she discussed Mozilla’s financial position, which is key to keeping Firefox popular. Google, of course, provides massive funding for Firefox, and that arrangement is in place through 2011. However, eWeek is predicting that Firefox won’t survive the proliferation of Google Chrome, because Google won’t continue to support a competing open source product.

I doubt that last point, because Google benefits from Firefox’s existence in several ways, one of which is simply that Firefox keeps Internet Explorer from having absolutely dominant market share. I use all three of the browsers discussed here, but I continue to find Firefox the best of all browsers because of the huge number of useful extensions available. I’ve been using the beta version 3.1 of Firefox and it is rocket fast, especially at JavaScript tasks.

Still, we haven’t seen so much competition and innovation going on in browsers in a long time. We’re definitely going to see this stepped up as we move into 2009.

  1. I hesitate to use even upgraded versions of Chrome, since my last experience using it (first version) left my computer compromised; have they fixed the security issues beyond all doubt?

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  2. no mention of opera? I think thats a bit unfair considering it works on several devices from of to normal phones and even the wii. Plus its as free on the of as the others mentioned. You owe them an article on their own at this stage web worker.

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  3. replace “of” above with “pc”..makes more sense then….the itouch changed it for some reason.

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  4. I agree with Marco. This article is quite shallow. I think the shift we’re likely to see is not from IE to Chrome, but from a few dominate option to a wide field of choices. We’ll see a proliferation of specialized browsers beyond Flock to mobile feed readers and social/location browsers.

    I do agree with Dean about Firefox however. I think it will continue to be the browser of choice for developers and other power users who need and love plugins. Google will continue to grow, but they will always be limited by their reluctance to truly open their tools beyond APIs.

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  5. I agree about Firefox being the best, although market share is a major impetus for mixing browser usage and working with Internet Explorer also.

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