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1/20/2006
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Browsers: Alternatives To Microsoft Internet Explorer And Firefox

Browsers like Netscape, Opera, Safari, and newcomer Flock offer features such as voice support and the ability to publish your bookmarks to the Web. Is an alternative browser right for you?

Mention "browser," and almost certainly Internet Explorer and Firefox will be up for discussion, and with good reason. Together, those two browsers have about 95 percent of the market, with Internet Explorer accounting for the lion's share of that, according to December stats compiled by Web-based applications vendor Net Applications.

Browser Babble
Which browser is your web tool of choice? Take our quick poll. Then, discuss which browsers you love/loathe in our forum.

But they're not the only browsers around. There are plenty of others, including those aimed at mobile users. Each commands just a miniscule portion of the Internet audience, but some deserve many more eyeballs thanks to innovative features or for other reasons. For instance, because Microsoft discontinued Mac support for Internet Explorer, users on that platform will want to investigate other options.

We looked at a few of the lesser known--or, in the case of Netscape, less-well-used--offerings out there: Opera 8.51, Netscape 8.0.4, Flock 0.4.10 and Safari 2.0.2. Each brings a unique flavor to its Web display. We tested them on either Windows XP Professional or Mac OS X 10.4 or both. Opera and Flock are available for Windows and OS X as well as Linux, but Netscape is available only for Windows (as of version 8) and Safari is available only for Mac OS X. If you want to browse the Web your way, you might want to look into one of these options.

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