On the heels of news that the Google Chrome Web browser is gaining market share while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser is losing ground, both companies took the wraps off faster, next-generation browsers Wednesday.
Google released a new beta of its Chrome browser which is much faster than the previous version and has several new features.
Meanwhile, Microsoft put out its second IE9 platform preview, one week ahead of schedule.
A Bruiser Beta
Speed is one of the main hallmarks of the latest Chrome browser beta, which loads Web pages at 2,700 frames per second, according to Google.
The new beta also has some HTML5 features such as geolocation application programming interfaces, an application cache, Web sockets and file drag-and-drop capabilities.
Further, it has an integrated Adobe Flash Player plug-in.
Hiding Your Identity
Users of the new Chrome browser beta can synchronize bookmarks as well as browser preferences, including themes, homepages and startup settings; Web content settings; and languages. They can also install and use Chrome extensions while in incognito, or private, mode.
In incognito mode, Web pages users open or files they download are not recorded in their browsing and download histories. All new cookies are deleted after all incognito windows are closed. Changes made to Google chrome bookmarks and general settings while in incognito mode will be saved, however.
Further, incognito mode only prevents Google Chrome from storing information about websites users have visited. The websites visited may retain records of visits, and any files saved to users’ computers will remain.
Microsoft Speeds Up IE9 2nd Preview
Perhaps to keep pace with Google, Microsoft unveiled the second platform preview of IE9 Wednesday — one week ahead of schedule.
When Redmond released the first IE9 platform preview in March, it promised to issue an update every eight weeks.
“We’re excited to provide developers with access to updated builds of the Internet Explorer 9 platform preview every eight weeks leading up to beta,” Microsoft spokesperson Ryan Bartholomew told TechNewsWorld.
However, this second preview was released after only seven.
The preview is for developers only, Brandon LeBlanc wrote on the Windows blog.
The release schedule for the full public IE9 beta is still unknown. “Internet Explorer 9’s public availability will be dependent on when it reaches the quality bar for release,” he explained.
Winning Is Everything
The announcements from Microsoft and Google reflect an ongoing battle in the browser market. April statistics from NetApplications.com show that Microsoft’s IE is still dominant, it continues to lose ground in the browser market. Meanwhile, Google Chrome is making sharp gains.
Overall, Internet Explorer’s share of the market fell to just below 60 percent in April.
“This is a new low for IE’s market share,” Ray Valdes, vice president of Web services at Gartner, told TechNewsWorld.
Google Chrome is not only eating into Microsoft’s turf, but it’s also impacting other browsers. Take Firefox, for example: It ranked second in the browser market, with a 25 percent share. That share may well have been bigger if it hadn’t been for Google Chrome.
“Firefox’s growth rate has slowed a lot recently, due to strong uptake by Google Chrome,” Valdes pointed out.
While Google Chrome is fast, speed isn’t the only factor boosting its growth in the market, he said.
“Google Chrome is growing share more rapidly than any of the other browsers for several reasons,” Valdes stated. “It has impressive speed, provides a good user experience, and perhaps most importantly, it’s leveraging the Google brand and distribution channels — it has a prominent link on the Google home page.”