When I think of Internet Explorer, I still think of the huge security breach with Internet Explorer 6 a few years back. After that, I immediately switched to Mozilla Firefox and then switched to Google Chrome the moment it came out. Apparently, if you mess up once, you lose my business (I never used any Bausch & Lomb ReNu contact solution again after the company discovered one of the ingredients may lead to an eye infection and issued a recall).
I snickered when I heard people still used Internet Explorer as it seemed so old-fashioned, especially when we have Google Chrome that has sleeker look, great security, useful ad-ons, custom themes, and works extremely fast. I imagined that Internet Explorer users still have Yahoo! mail accounts (Who knew Yahoo! mail was still around? I challenge you to find 5 people who regularly use Yahoo! mail as their primary email address…)
To my surprise, however, Internet Explorer is still quite popular. I’ve noticed that many workplaces use Internet Explorer. In a biotech company that I worked at in Cambridge, Mass., they actually used an out-dated version of Internet Explorer because a few research programs they used weren’t compatible with other browsers or even newer versions of Internet Explorer. Depending on which stat service you ask, Internet Explorer is either the most used web browser in the world or second most used (after Google Chrome). And I may be joining that crowd of Internet Explorer users.
On my new Microsoft Surface Pro that runs Windows 8, I have also found myself using Internet Explorer the most, specifically for it’s layout in tablet/metro mode. I downloaded Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera browsers and tested each of them out for a few days. The commercials for Internet Explorer 10 do not lie–that web browser was made for Windows 8, and it’s great.
It is important to know that I compared all of these browsers in Windows 8 tablet/metro mode. For those of you unfamiliar with the Windows 8 platform, there are 2 modes: desktop mode and tablet/metro mode. Desktop mode pretty much looks like the traditional Windows desktop that we’ve known all along. The tablet/metro mode is the new, sleek look that you probably associate with Windows 8. The layout has live tiles and is best to be used with touch, in my opinion.
Here are my top reasons for choosing Internet Explorer (over Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Opera browsers) for Windows 8 tablet/metro mode:
- The web browser fills up the entire screen with no toolbar or address bar showing. It’s like I am viewing all the web pages in “full screen mode” on my computer (you know full screen mode, when you accidentally press F11 and freak out because you didn’t realize that you could even do that on your computer)
- Navigating back and forward to webpages is actually just a finger swipe away. Windows 8 seems to be targeting primarily touch enabled devices so it makes sense to make a web browser that can be navigated with touch.
- The zoom function is absolutely seamless on the Internet Explorer browser. I really like my Microsoft Surface Pro, but my biggest complaint is that the screen is kind of small (which is fine for a tablet, but not for a laptop). The Internet Explorer browser has an extremely fast and smooth zoom function that allows me to zoom on anything on the webpage.
- I can customize my search engine used on Internet Explorer. When I type terms into the address/search bar, the browser uses Google as my search engine instead of Bing. To change your default search engine on IE, open the browser in desktop mode, click on internet options, manage ad-ons, search providers, and click on Google. (You may have to install Google as an IE add-on)
In the tablet/metro mode, Google Chrome did not allow me to zoom in and the browser’s start page was distorted (my Google Chrome theme did not fill out the entire browser with really bothered me after a while). Mozilla Firefox zoomed in but it was very jerky and wouldn’t let me zoom in as much as Internet Explorer. Opera was actually pretty decent at zooming in, but the toolbar/address bar were always present and didn’t give me the full screen effect that Internet Explorer did. Also, the buttons on all three browsers were too small for me to press with my fingers and I would accidentally open an unnecessary window or close a really important one.
I realize that internet browsers are constantly updating, and I imagine that Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Opera are probably making their browsers a little more user-friendly for the tablet/metro mode in Windows 8 right now. I am more than happy to revisit any of these web browsers if you’ve noticed the browsers have been updated or if you’ve had a great experience with any browsers– just let me know. On that same note, I do urge you to play around with the Internet Explorer browser though because the browser isn’t too shabby on Windows 8. Kudos, Microsoft.