Every day I sit at my computer and open two browsers: Firefox and Internet Explorer (first 6, then 7 and, as of late, 8). "Why do I do that?" I've often asked myself. It's been going on for years. I maintain two separate "browser lives," in a sense. Firefox opens my Yahoo and Gmail mail accounts. Internet Explorer is aimed at my banking and stock trading accounts. I have news sites as part of the home pages for both browsers. One is CNN (for my serious news) and the other is MSN (more for entertainment tidbits). Yes, I'm living a dual browser life, and I know I'm not alone.
Yesterday, however, I made up my mind to drop Firefox altogether. I wrote a chapter for my upcoming "Windows 7 Spotlight" book on Internet Explorer 8, and I was so impressed by the features that I decided Firefox was history. Yesterday morning, I found out that Firefox released the 3.5 beta (4), and many features are the same as in IE8. And so the personal war rages on.
[ Which browser is more secure? InfoWorld's Roger A. Grimes puts them to the test. ]
Where IE8 and Firefox 3.5 are similar
Let's take a look at some of the features that they each have.
Obviously they both possess a multiple-tab capability. Personally, I like that IE has a tab waiting for you to click to open. Google Chrome has that as well. Firefox now has a little plus sign to allow the same functionality -- a small but important improvement I've been waiting for.
IE8 has a feature called InPrivate Browsing, which prevents IE from storing data about your browsing sessions, including cookies, temporary Internet files, history, and other data. I've used this mode at conferences while on kiosk machines, and it adds to my comfort level, even though I still cannot help but delete browsing history whenever I access a public machine. Likewise, Firefox 3 has Private Browsing, which provides the same functionality and does not retain visited pages, form and search bar entries, passwords, cookies, temporary or cached Internet files, and so forth.