How does the new Firefox 3.6 match up?

As Google enters the ring and Firefox releases a new update, we compare the most popular internet browsers available for download.

Firefox 3.6

Faster, safer and an all-round improved browsing experience: these are the promises made by Mozilla regarding Firefox’s latest release, version 3.6. As great as this sounds, some users might find the upgrade installation less than bug free. However, after download-and-install attempt number six finally yielded results, I entered the world of the new and improved Firefox browser…

On a first look around, it doesn’t seem as if much has changed. However, Mozilla have made a lot of subtle adjustments that, put together, really make a difference to the browsing experience.

The technical improvements include:

  • Improved speed – 20% faster than the previous version
  • Increased stability
  • Better safety features
  • HTML 5 support
  • Plugin updater

Other features that are sure to be popular include the Personas plugin, which gives users over 35,000 browser themes to choose from. The new version also enables one-click bookmarking, one of the many adjustments that improve the accessibility.

Internet Explorer

As the original web browser, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has found itself struggling against its competitors more recently. When Firefox arrived, users celebrated its ease of use, stability and speed compared to its clunky Microsoft counterpart.

Since then, Microsoft have tried to level with other browsers, releasing fairly regular updates with new and improved features. However, some would probably say that they are fighting a losing battle.

This was highlighted most recently by the revelation that hackers had exploited serious flaws in IE8 to attack Google and over 30 other companies around the world. Although Microsoft quickly released an additional security patch to fix the issues, the news didn’t do much to instil confidence in their safety features.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is a recent addition to the battle of the browsers. It’s key attraction is simplicity; the toolbar contains basic browsing functions and nothing more. It also erases the need for a separate search box, as users can now navigate web pages and search for keywords from the same place. Conveniently, it even offers to import your Mozilla bookmarks and settings when downloaded.

For many internet users, this accessibility is sure to be alluring. However, aside from Chrome’s minimalist design, Google and Mozilla are two of a kind: both offer high-speed browsing, good security features and have a customisable appearance.

The way we browse the internet has changed dramatically over the last few years. More competition in the market has lead to better features, improved security and faster speeds. However, as in any competition, someone always has to fall behind. Sadly for Microsoft, it looks like it’s their turn.