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IE, Safari, Flock, Opera and Firefox: tested and rated

Which Web 2.0 browser is the best?

Apple's Safari, Mozilla's Firefox, and Microsoft's Internet Explorer will fight it out to be the program you use most on your PC. We look at their pros and cons to help you decide.

Two free alternatives

Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari are today's big three, but they aren't the only good browsers out there. Here's the skinny on two free alternatives, Flock and Opera.

To understand Flock, the self-billed social browser, picture starting with Firefox 2.0. Then imagine linking to sites and services such as Blogger, Facebook, Picasa, Yahoo Mail and Google's YouTube.

Then visualise custom features such as a Media Bar (to search for and display pictures and videos from social-networking sites), a blog editor, and a web clipboard that can snip images, text, and links from pages for later viewing. Wrap everything up in a new design with buttons and sidebars providing access to all of these features, and you have Flock.

Ultimately, Flock delivers little or nothing that you couldn't get from Firefox plus a bunch of add-ons. But for people who don't enjoy customising their browser, this one offers a lot of social-networking functionality built in. In addition you can introduce Firefox and custom Flock extensions, although not all Firefox add-ons will work.

Flock says that it aims to deliver patches via automatic updates within 48 hours of Mozilla's releasing them for its browser. One note of caution: by default, the Flock browser collects anonymous usage data, but you can turn off that option.

Visit Broadband Advisor for the latest news and reviews about the internet and internet tools.

A worthy competitor soldiers on

Although the Opera browser has been around for years, it has never achieved mainstream popularity despite a solid array of built-in features. If we couldn't use Firefox add-ons to mimic some of Opera's features, such as mouse gestures for moving backward and forward through browsing history, we'd likely go with this well-made alternative.

A Speed Dial start page provides quick access (with page thumbnails) to your favourite destinations. You can switch downloadable themes without having to restart the browser, and add Widgets such as calendars and clocks that display outside the browser.

Throw in some other useful features, such as a built-in RSS reader and site-specific settings for using cookies or Javascript, and you have a commendable browser. The company also offers a version of its browser for mobile phones, Opera Mini 4.

  1. IE, Safari and Firefox put to the test
  2. How Safari complies with web standards
  3. Firefox's functions and features
  4. Internet Explorer 8: a work in progress
  5. Our expert opinion on which browser is best
  6. Flock, and Opera

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