How Chrome and Firefox aim to unseat IE

Google and Mozilla take separate paths in search of greater business adoption of their open source browsers

According to the latest Net Applications numbers, Internet Explorer stills hold 60 percent of the browser market, while Firefox is stuck at about 23 percent and Chrome has doubled its share over the past year to reach 7.5 percent. Yet the two open source contenders have a disproportionately large mindshare among smart business users -- and are taking distinctly different approaches to win hearts and minds.

For Google, the main selling point of Chrome is speed. Mozilla, on the other hand, is banking on Firefox's flexibility and functionality.

[ Learn how to find the best browser to suit your needs -- and how to hack your browser in 7 easy steps | Keep up with the latest open source trends and news in InfoWorld's Technology: Open Source newsletter. ]

Google Chrome: Focused on speed
One look at the Google Chrome download, and the message is clear: Chrome is all about speed. "Fast start-up," "Fast loading," and "Fast search" are among the marketing taglines seeking to entice users to test out Chrome. Not surprisingly, Google's engineering-driven culture is at the heart of this focus on "speeds and feeds."

And that emphasis is starting to pay off, with Chrome closing the gap on the fastest browsers out there, according to independent tests.

Computerworld's recent browser bechmark found Google Chrome 6 to be 17 percent faster than Chrome 5. According to the tests, Chrome is now only slightly slower than Opera and Apple's Safari, with less than 12 milliseconds separating the browsers.

Mozilla, on the other hand, has limited itself to reaching "near or even to" Chrome 5 with respect to JavaScript performance for its next version of Firefox. Still in beta, Firefox 4 is within the 20 percent target performance of Chrome 5, which would make it much more than 20 percent slower than Chrome 6.

But as InfoWorld's Peter Wayner discusses, when it comes to choosing the right browser to suit your needs, for many speed is not the only criterion.

Mozilla Firefox: Browser as productivity platform
Mozilla has always looked beyond speed in its approach to rolling out innovations in Firefox. User productivity has been one key area, with Tab Candy, a Mozilla Labs feature that aims to vastly improve productivity for knowledge workers or power surfers, providing a shining example of this commitment.

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