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Friday, July 16, 2010

Internet Start Page and Browser/search engine review.

You can use any start page you want when you open your browser to surf the Internet. Different browsers have different start pages. Microsoft Internet Explorer normally sets theirs to msn.com. Mozilla Firefox sets theirs to firefox.com and Google Chrome starts with google.com.

Most people know how to change this, but this blog is mostly for people who need help doings things on the computer they are not familiar with. This is an easy thing to change. I have used every browser and they all pretty much have the same features.

Start page
Personally I use my.yahoo.com as my start page. This is a personal page at Yahoo.com that you can easily customize to your liking. My page has all the news feeds from multiple sources I want. Weather, scores and RSS feeds are added easily. I can add all my bookmarks that I use that are right there every time I open my browser. They also have ready made content that you can add. Like cnn.com or reuter.com news? Add a link to them. They have any type of info you want. These links/content show four or five the latest stories and will add and delete as new ones come in. It shows you a short headline that you can click to read further. I have about 20 different modules from different sources on my page that is easily accessible.

I probably have 50 bookmarks on the left that I just click on and they take me right into the site I want. No shortcuts on the desktop, no clicking on the browser's bookmarks and taking forever to find them. I have mine broken out by categories. Financial, sports, etc, Takes a few minutes to set it up, but whatever computer I log into I have all my information right where I need it. I have tried other pages that offer this like Google, MSN and several others, but none have the look and feel of Yahoo. You can custom the background and drag and move content around to your liking. If you want to try it out, just make a free account at yahoo.com and then go to my.yahoo.com.

Internet Explorer Download
To change your start page just open the page you want to use. On the top toolbar of Explorer click on "Tools". This is normally on the right side of the toolbar. On the drop down box you will see "Internet Options",click and open it. This will pop-up a separate window. On the top of the window you will see the current start page. If you have the page open you want then just click on "Use current page" and click "apply" and it will make your favorite page your new start page. If you are using Internet Explorer 8.0 or above you can have multiple pages open automatically. In the box where you see your start page address just type the pages on top of each other. You can put as many as you want.
Example
http://my.yahoo.com/
http://www.msn.com/


Mozilla Firefox Download
Firefox is changed pretty close to the same way as Internet Explorer. Open the page you want as your start page, click on tools, click on options and a separate window will pop-up.Click on "Use current page" and click ok to change your start page to the one you want. You can also have multiple start pages with Firefox. Easiest way is to open them all at the same time using different tabs on the web page. With Firefox open click on the plus sign "+" next the to the page you have open. This will open another page on the browser. Go to the page you want and repeat the "use current page" process to save. Just repeat this for as many pages you want to add.

Google Chrome Download
Chrome is easily changed as well. Open up the Chrome browser, click on the wrench in the top right corner of the toolbar, click on options and a separate window will open. In the middle you will see "Home page' and the current page that it opens. Just type over the address in there with the page that you want to open and then click on "close". Chrome also has tab browsing and you can have multiple pages open. In the same window and above the "Home Page" is "On Startup". Click on "Open the following pages", click on "Add" which will bring up another window that shows frequent sites you visit and also gives you the option to type in your own. Put in the one you want and click on close. Repeat to add as many as you want.


Browsers
Personally I use Firefox , but up until last year I had always used Internet Explorer. When Internet Explorer updated to version 8 it just seemed to be very slow. I installed Firefox to test it out and it was twice as fast as Explorer. Firefox will ask you if you want to import all settings and information from Explorer and will automatically do this when you check the box. I have also installed Google Chrome. It did not ask to import my info like Firefox.

Internet Explorer is probably the easiest when it comes to needing something that is not included in Explorer. Items like adobe reader, flash player and a ton of other programs that have to be embedded/installed are easily done in Explorer. If Explorer needs something it will pop up a link where you click on it to install and that is normally all you have to do. I have never ran into something that Explorer needed that it couldn't find automatically. It is the best built browser except for speed. After 8.0 it just started to crawl which is why I switched to Firefox. If they get the speed back I will go back to it.

Mozilla is the original browser and the company actually stopped making browsers for a long time. Several years ago they came out with Firefox made from the original Mozilla design. Firefox was lighting fast, but as updates and technology changes have slowed it down a bit. It is still a fairly fast browser, but can be buggy sometimes and can get hung up sometimes. Cool thing is when it does crash and you reopen it will try to load the pages you had open at the time. Installing needed software is not as easy as Explorer and is a pain. Instead of installing automatically most programs have to be saved and then manually installed. To me this is the biggest drawback. Mozilla still has some work to do and I will use them until Explorer fixes their speed issue or Chrome gets a bit better.

Google Chrome is the new kid on the block and has only been around a couple of years. This is the fastest browser hands down, but I just don't like it. You might though. There have been sites I have went to that needed a program and not only could it not install the program it couldn't find it. Thing is don't under estimate Google. With a little time a some updates and hopefully a little bit better look to the program they will rise to the top pretty quickly. I just hope these updates don't slow it down and cause other problems. Chrome is also meant to used as an operating system in other formats so with this design I think it will also end up being the most stable of the bunch.

Thing with browsers is that it is pretty much a personal preference. Netscape was the top browser years ago and was actually as good as Yahoo until AOL bought them years ago and ruined it. I have all three browsers on my computer and use Firefox the most. Weird thing is I run into pages that will work on one and not the other. They all have work to do to keep up with technology changes. Microsoft does this best with Explorer and if they could get the speed that Chrome has they would own the market again. It is pretty much the same with search engines. You can get different results with all three main search engines Yahoo, Google and Bing. Yahoo used to be the best, but is blown away now by Google. Bing is gaining ground on Google, but it is hard to knock off the top dog.