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Browser War, Reloaded

In the last week of January, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2. This works only with Windows XP SP2. I had read about the amount of freshly copied features from better browsers (read Firefox & Opera) which would be available in IE7. Curious to see how the new & improved(?) IE would look, I downloaded & installed the browser.

Check out this screenshot of my desktop with IE7 showing the Google search page :-

IE7 Screenshot

Quick! Can you find the Stop button? Time up. Now can you find the Refresh button? Time up. Well, could you find them? Immediately? No? Look hard at the top right area of the image. Found them?

IE7 Highlighted Screenshot

Typically one would be accustomed to having all the navigation buttons together at the top left. To achieve differentiation, Microsoft seems to have gone in for unintuitive interfaces. I want to stop some page from loading & I suddenly find that my Stop button is missing from its usual place. By the time I spot what I think is the Stop button & click on it, the page would have already loaded. Moreover I feel that both the Refresh & Stop buttons are not very responsive - they hardly seem to get depressed. And what is the reason for this wholesale shuffling of buttons? MS says they want to foil the attempts made by some sites to trick users into clicking on imitation toolbars at the top of the page. Huh? Whatever.

Tabbed browsing, anti-phishing tool(s), RSS feed detection are a few of the new features in IE7. But most Web developers want IE to support standards first - an area where IE has differentiated itself very well from its competitors ;-).

The release doesn't make any difference to me anyway. I have been using Firefox for a few years now & before that I had been using Opera (Before Opera? IE 5.x, of course. But those were the times when I was just getting my feet wet online. That's excusable, I guess :-)).

Interesting fact about the browser wars :- Microsoft is beginning to face stiff competition from Firefox, which actually rose out of the Mozilla codebase which in turn was contributed by Netscape Corporation when they were being blown out of the browser business by Microsoft in mid 90s. So, will Firefox become IE's nemesis and avenge its ancestor? We can only wait & watch.

Tags : Blogger Days, The Binary Files, Usability

Posted by Rajat @ 4:15 PM

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