Google Eating The Chrome Off Of IE8, Firefox Drinks Ribbon Menu Kool-Aid

Shouldn't your browser be the one speedy app on your computer that's easy to use?

It was mid last week when I installed the Google plugin for IE8 that replaces the web rendering and JavaScript engine with Google Chrome's WebKit and V8 engine respectively. Since I blogged about this last week, Microsoft's fired back balking because the plugin negates the private browsing feature in IE8 and makes the browser less secure by "running a browser within a browser". But Google's not taking it lying down (and you wouldn't expect them to), firing back that the plug-in has security features missing in IE6 and is updated for security threats in days rather than weeks compared to Internet Explorer.

Frankly from my viewpoint, I understand the security arguments but I don't rely on the privacy feature and the security risks are pretty minimal. Most important from the user's perspective, IE 8 is now usable thanks to the Google WebKit + V8 engine plugin. IE8 actually has decent performance. Even turning off IE8 browser junk feature-itis like Accelerators and Suggested Sites didn't bring IE8 close to the performance of Firefox or Google Chrome. IE8 isn't my default browser but I do on occasion need to use it to (primarily for Microsoft sites) so at least now IE8 is tolerable, thanks to the Google plugin.

Speaking of browser kookiness, Firefox announced it is going to add ribbon menus to its user interface. Ribbon menus. Ribbon menus are like a bad college frat picture posted on Facebook you had hoped no one would remember. Apparently Firefox creators feel the existing menu structure is looking a bit dated, but hey, it's a "dated" tried and true user interface design we users like. At least a couple of times a week I have to go hunting for some feature that used to be right at my fingertips in Office or Word 2007 (I'm using the Office 2010 Technical Preview right now which has ribbon menus in Outlook. Arg!)

At least Firefox is planning a option that will let you turn off ribbon menus and go back to the old menu structure.

Even if you dislike ribbon menus, they are increasingly common on modern Windows machines, and familiarity is a plus. Not all hope is lost for the naysayers, though. A mere press of the Alt key will return users to the older (current) interface. - TechSpot

We'll see if Firefox actually goes through with making the move to ribbon menus, but let's hope cooler heads prevail. Hmm, Google Chrome is starting to look better and better all the time.

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