Almost exactly two years ago I wrote about five reasons why you should stop using Internet Explorer. Just this week, it was reported that a security flaw was found in the browser so serious that the U.S. and U.K. governments are recommending users forgo using the Microsoft software until a patch is made available. It has been a thorn in the side of programmers and website administrators for years. It is slow and a drain on memory. Yet millions still use it thanks to its convenient bundle with Windows. IE has become the America Online of Internet browsers. It's the surfing software that people who don't know the difference between a browser and "the Google" use every day. It sucks, and this security issue should be the final blow to what has been a sinking software ship at Microsoft for years.
A quick preface for those who don't understand why IE is so terrible. Not only is it slower than most browsers, less secure (even before this flaw was found) and a terrible drain on your computer's resources, it has the singular distinction of basically ignoring rules set up to make the Internet easier for everyone to use.
Certain standards exist when you're programming websites and creating apps that are accepted by every software manufacturer. This not only makes every site you visit faster to load and nicer to look at, it makes them easier to use and easier to program. It literally facilitates your ability to watch videos and read Wikipedia entries. It lets you live stream feeds on Twitter during the NBA playoffs and like status updates from friends on Facebook.
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But the only company that does not fully embrace those standards is Microsoft. As a result, websites viewed in Internet Explorer often don't work the same way as with other browsers, if at all. I recently had a conversation with a client of mine -- I work in website development, for full disclosure -- who was still using an old version of IE. As a result, she was unable to use several websites important to her organization's goals, including some of the most popular third-party websites on the planet. Much of the reason for this lies in lazy programming of the past. Often company IT departments, driven by a need to create simple in-house software they could secure with readily available technology, built things that only worked with IE. With servers almost always outfitted with Microsoft technology and computers running Windows, it was sensible to keep everything in the same software and technology family.
But in the past decade, there has been an explosion of alternatives, many of which are significantly cheaper than Microsoft if not open source (i.e., free). Companies are turning away from Microsoft Exchange and Outlook as their primary source of e-mail technology, opting instead for solutions through Google, which are largely cheaper and more compatible with new mobile technology.
And speaking of Google, the Chrome browser is, in my opinion, head and shoulders above virtually anything else. It is fast, secure and compatible with pretty much everything. By logging into your Google account with Chrome, you can access your bookmarks, recent pages viewed and a number of other features on any device you own, from phone to tablet to PC.
But as Owen Wilson said in Wedding Crashers, "I'm not standing here asking you to marry me, just not marry him." You don't need to convert to Google to make me happy, but if you did decide this security issue was the final reason you needed to abandon IE, you have my thanks and good riddance.