Your Web browser is one of the most important pieces of software in your law practice. That’s why a large part of the text deals with how to get the most out of your browser, saving you time and making your research experience more efficient. It’s a regularly changing world, though, so here’s a brief update on some of the more recent changes.
Kill Internet Explorer 6
Even Microsoft wants you to get rid of it. Internet Explorer 9 is still under wraps. You can get a preview demo if you’re on Windows Vista or Windows 7. The demo is not a “real” browser and isn’t intended to be used as a replacement to IE8/7/6. Expectations are that it will be faster, and comparable in speed to other browsers, since being faster than the currently available Internet Explorer versions would only be a small advantage. The platform preview should be refreshed shortly, but no beta or release date is available yet. So get yourself to Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 in the meantime.
Firefox is still doing dot upgrades (3.5, 3.6) to their desktop version and are looking at mobile versions too. Lawyers shouldn’t get their hopes up, because there are no plans for either an iPhone or BlackBerry version, and those are the leading Web-enabled smartphones in the legal world.
I’ve been seeing more complaints about Google Chrome crashing – and seeing some of this behavior myself – so it may be that Chrome’s going through a bit of growing pains on version 4. Version 5 is now in beta (it seems like only a few months ago that 4 was in beta) and it will be interesting to see what usability enhancements they include.
What About Apple’s Safari, Opera, and Others?
I don’t mention these browsers much in the text because they are not used much by the legal profession, which uses them even less than the rest of the world. Their lack of extendability is the biggest reason, and what slight speed advantage they have is not significant enough to recommend them in favor of Firefox or Chrome.
UPDATED: 4/28: Mozilla has released a pre-alpha version (pre-beta) of Fennec, it’s mobile version of Firefox. Here’s the story on Ars Technica. If you like to live on the edge and have an Android phone (they are not developing a version for Windows Mobile, iPhone or Blackberry), you might want to download it and give it a try.