Thursday, April 5, 2012

Old is no more Gold a.k.a Old vs New Browsers

Most of us don’t realize how much an old and out-of-date web browser can negatively impact our online lives, particularly our online safety. You wouldn’t drive an old car with bald tires, bad brakes, and an unreliable engine for years on end. It’s a bad idea to take the same chances with the web browser that you use daily to navigate to every page and application on the web.

Upgrading to a modern browser — like the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Opera, or Google Chrome — is important for three reasons:

First, old browsers are vulnerable to attacks, because they typically aren’t updated with the latest security fixes and features. Browser vulnerabilities can lead to stolen passwords, malicious software snuck secretly onto your computer, or worse. An up-to-date browser helps guard against security threats like phishing and malware.

Second, the web evolves quickly. Many of the latest features on today’s websites and web applications won't work with old browsers. Only up-to-date browsers have the speed improvements that let you run web pages and applications quickly, along with support for modern web technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and fast JavaScript.

Third and last, old browsers slow down innovation on the web. If lots of Internet users cling to old browsers, web developers are forced to design websites that work with both old and new technologies. Facing limited time and resources, they end up developing for the lowest common denominator — and not building the next generation of useful, groundbreaking web applications. (Imagine if today’s highway engineers were required to design high-speed freeways that would still be perfectly safe for a Model T.) That’s why outdated browsers are bad for users overall and bad for innovation on the web.

Not that anyone blames you personally for staying loyal to your aging browser. In some cases, you may be unable to upgrade your browser. If you find that you’re blocked from upgrading your browser on your corporate computer, have a chat with your IT administrator. If you can’t upgrade an old version of Internet Explorer, the Google Chrome Frame plug-in can give you the benefits of some modern web app functionality by bringing in Google Chrome’s capabilities into Internet Explorer.

Old, outdated browsers are bad for us as users, and they hold back innovation all over the web. So take a moment to make sure that you’ve upgraded to the latest version of your favorite modern browser.
The Browser Wars! In the past two years, IE has gone from commanding a 61.45 percent of the global browser market to 53.6 percent. In that same time frame, Firefox has dropped from 23.69 percent to 20.05 percent, while Chrome has gained considerable ground, climbing from 8.24 percent to 19.13 percent. According to StatCounter, things shake out a little differently. StatCounter has Chrome leading all other browsers with a 33.59 percent of the market at the end of August 2012. IE is close behind at 32.85 percent, followed by Firefox at 22.85 percent. Despite the abuse it routinely takes in tech and media circles, Internet Explorer is staging a bit of a comeback based on recent usage data.

While browser use is a product of many factors, Microsoft is taking on its competitor directly on another front: marketing. In recent years, Google has put a lot of marketing muscle behind Chrome, including web campaigns such as The Web Is What You Make Of It, with spots from Lady Gaga and sex columnist Dan Savage, as well as "Dear Sophie." Its top four campaigns have accumulated nearly 45 million views since 2009, according to analytics firm Visible Measures, but some are several years old at this point, while Microsoft is hitting the market with fresh work on the web and TV.

Last month, Microsoft launched a new TV ad for Internet Explorer that extols the speed and slickness of IE9 with excerpts of favorable reviews, and a shortened version of what's been published on YouTube appears to be in heavy circulation. The TV version of "A More Beautiful Web" premiered March 4 during AMC's "The Walking Dead" and has subsequently aired on "Mad Men." A Microsoft spokesperson said it's had a "broader broadcast and cable run" and has also aired during movie previews, in addition to its digital placements. The Final Takeaway Use a modern browser, first and foremost. Or try a new one and see if it brings you happier browsing that’s better suited to your needs. The web will keep evolving — dramatically! Support cutting-edge web technologies like HTML5, CSS3 and WebGL, because they’ll help the web community imagine and create a future of great, innovative web apps. Lastly, try new things. The web is a new and exciting place every day, so try tasks that you didn’t think could be done online -- such as researching your ancestry back ten generations, or viewing a real-time webcam image from a climbing basecamp in the Himalayas. You might be surprised by what you find!

 To check which browser you’re using, visit


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