Savio Rodrigues, Infoworld
Sep 11, 2010 12:45 pm
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.
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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.
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.
Mozilla engineer Aza Raskin explains Tab Candy:
It's hard to keep everything straight with dozens of tabs all crammed into a little strip along the top of your browser. Your tab with a search to find a pizza parlor gets mixed up with your tabs on your favorite band. Often, it's easier to open a new tab than to try to find the open tab you already have. Worse, how many of us keep tabs open as reminders of something we want to do or read later?
Enter: Tab Candy.
With one keystroke Tab Candy shows an overview of all tabs to allow you to quickly locate and switch between them. Tab Candy also lets you group tabs to organize your work flow. You can create a group for your vacation, work, recipes, games and social sites, however it makes sense to you to group tabs. When you switch to a grouped tab only the relevant tabs are shown in the tab bar, which helps you focus on what you want.
Not surprisingly, the Google Chrome ecosystem is attempting to copy Tab Candy with the Tab Sugar open source plug-in project. And though both Firefox and Chrome encourage vibrant plug-in development, the fact that Google isn't tackling this type of user productivity feature itself provides further proof of Google's fixation on speed.
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