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Firefox Four Folderol

Yes Firefox 4 beat IE9’s record, which would be more of an achievement if anyone besides web developers actually waited to download a new version of IE. But while it looks faster, Firefox releases clog up with time, and I’m not so sure that Firefox 4 will be any different. For such a long delayed release, Firefox has its share of bugs and isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

What’s new? Pandering to power users mainly. More tab management features, for obsessive tab managers. Do No Track. And a few features that were already implemented in Chrome, from HTML5 to flash crashes not shutting down the browser. (Chrome’s new talk search update and icon adjustment is even more useless.) It’s underwhelming. And not too stable.

The visuals are Opera, but badly implemented and ugly. More like a bad hybrid of Opera and IE9. It’s annoying enough that I had to switch from the default look. Firefox used to be the cool alternative browser, but FF4 is a long way from those roots. Sorry guys.

The Browser Times Are Changing

So Chrome has finally broken the 10 percent mark. Google promoting it on every page it owns wouldn’t hurt. Especially when between its search empire and YouTube, Google also commands a huge percentage of the traffic. Microsoft’s own market share is down to 56 percent. Around double Firefox’s 22 percent market share. Opera has increased a little, but not as much as it deserves.

The news isn’t all that good. Chrome isn’t a good browser, it’s just a well promoted one. The only good thing you can say about Chrome is that it’s light, though it has its own memory issues, and easy to flip through. It beats clunkers like IE and Safari, and it feels lighter than Firefox, which is turning into the new IE. That plus the marketing elevates Chrome up in the competition.

Firefox really needs to come up with a winner in 4.0 and they’re taking the time to do it. But can Mozilla turn this around? Firefox was important because it was the first browser to really put IE in the corner. IE9 is Microsoft’s latest attempt to learn from its mistakes, but IE9 is still clunky. Just less clunky than its predecessors. The browser that really gets it is Opera, but it’s also the least used of the big 5.

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