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The browser race is speeding up

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Moz/FF

I love technology, but I'm fanatical about only a few things high-tech. Firefox is one of them.

The Web browser has always been an underdog to Microsoft's market-dominant Internet Explorer, but Firefox is vastly superior in features and usability. That's why it's my fave browser.

So I am excited this week because Firefox creator Mozilla Corp. is releasing version 2.0. (It's due to be available on Tuesday afternoon.) Its improvements aren't revolutionary, but I'm rooting for the increasingly popular program to maintain its momentum in a suddenly intensified browser race.

That's right: Dozing giant Microsoft recently awoke after neglecting its browser for years and also is offering a revamped version. It was released in final form Wednesday. While this new Internet Explorer isn't revolutionary, either, and won't make me ditch Firefox, it's just useful and powerful enough to keep Microsoft in the browser game.

I test-drove near-final versions of Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 7 on a Windows XP computer. There's also a Macintosh version of Firefox, which I put on a new Intel-based Mac mini as well as an older, pre-Intel iMac machine.

Full Story.

Internet Explorer's new features aren't new to other browsers

Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser is one of the most-used software products in the world. It is the main tool through which most computer users view the entire Internet.

But IE hasn't had a significant overhaul in five long years. That has allowed competitors like Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari to leap ahead in terms of features.

Now, finally, the software giant has produced a major new version of the browser, called IE 7. It's a fundamental rewrite, especially in the areas of user interface and underlying security.

I have been testing IE 7, and I agree with Microsoft that it's much improved. If you are a confirmed IE user, upgrading to this new version makes perfect sense, because it is likely to be more secure and its new features make Web browsing better.

But if you are already using Firefox, IE's main competitor, I see nothing in IE 7 that should make you switch. It's mostly a catch-up release, adding to IE some features long present in Firefox and other browsers.

Full Story.

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