Admit it, you just hate using Internet Explorer right? Pretty much anyone who knows anything about computers despises Microsoft’s browser with a passion, even though the most recent versions aren’t (in all honesty) that bad. Fact is, IE was god-damn awful for years, which is why its one-time 90% market share has been eroded by popular, friendlier alternatives like Firefox and Google Chrome.
People hate Internet Explorer so much that one of the first things they do upon buying a new laptop or PC is to download one of the aforementioned alternatives and set it as their default browser straight away. That’s been pretty much the standard practice, but for those who’ve bought a Windows 8 touch-based device in the last 12 months, that hasn’t really been possible, as neither Chrome nor Firefox were optimized to work with them.
That kind of sucks, and may well be one of the things that’s putting off people from buying Windows 8, but the good news is that this is about to change. This December, Mozilla will be releasing its first ever Metro-style or Metro-ized version of its Firefox browser. A developer version is set to launch this September, so we might see be able to play with the first touch-enhanced Firefox by then. Before the final release of Firefox 26, Mozilla will pair the Modern version with the browser’s “Aurora” and “Beta” channel builds, which will be released on September 16 and October 28, respectively. With each release, Mozilla aims to iron out all the kinks and respond to user feedback with changes.
Firefox Metro has been in the works for some time – probably even before Window 8 was released – but until recently these efforts haven’t come to fruition as Microsoft seems to have worked to deter others from creating touch-enabled browsers that work with its OS. The Metro-ized Firefox version was supposed to come out in January of this year, and the delays were blamed on Microsoft.
“Windows on ARM — as currently designed — restricts user choice, reduces competition and chills innovation,” Harvey Anderson, Mozilla’s general counsel, argued at the time.
“If Windows on ARM is simply another version of Windows on new hardware, it also runs afoul of the EC browser choice commitments and seems to represent the very behavior the [Department of Justice]-Microsoft settlement sought to prohibit.”
This is an important step for Mozilla as Firefox 26 will be the first browser, aside from IE, to deliver touch experience for users, and even though Microsoft would prefer everyone to use its own browser, it could possibly tempt a few Firefox fans to make the switch to Windows 8
Chrome to allow less-privileged browsing
In other browser news, Google is set to introduce a new Chrome feature that would allow users to create separate restricted accounts. Called “Supervised Accounts,” these would have less privileges than standard accounts, and appear to be geared towards parents worried about what their kids are getting up to online. Supervised Accounts will allow parents to restrict the kinds of websites their kids can access, and prevent them from downloading files, programs, or games. The standard account would be password protected so no one can easily access it.
Google is also said to be working on making Chrome more touch-friendly in an effort to keep pace with Mozilla. The latest version of Chrome Canary sports a swipe-to-navigate control, rudimentary support for Windows 8′s virtual keyboard in desktop mode, and pinch to zoom functionality. However, Google seems to be trailing Firefox in its developments as non of these touch functions have been perfected, and there’s no released date confirmed as of yet.