I've logged close to thirty hours in Internet Explorer (IE) 8 in the last few weeks doing browser testing. The more I use it, the more I think to myself "why would you use Internet Explorer?" There are other, better choices. Here's a quick roundup of what's out there to choose from. Internet Explorer: Each version gets better, I'll grant you that, but that's about all I'll grant you. Even the soon to be officially released IE8 isn't going to stand up to Firefox, Opera, or any of the others listed below. It's a step ahead for IE, but not a big step. Improved security, improved rendering, improved standards compliance... sounds good, doesn't it? Let's look at it another way. The last place runner in the race for the perfectly compliant browser has made huge gains on his competitors... but hasn't caught any of them. Internet Explorer 8 will remind you of Internet Explorer 7. In fact it looks just like it. As with other Microsoft programs, you have no choice of themes. It does have a few add-ons for functionality, most notably the web developer toolbar which has now been built into IE8. It is supported on the Windows operating system (OS) only. It does not support mouse gestures, a method of executing common commands (like page forward/backward, close tab, new tab) by moving the mouse the current web page, without using the toolbar or keyboard. Firefox: It has good web standards compliance and quick loading times. It's highly adaptable. I see just over 6,000 add-ons available on their site, and about 600 themes. Some of these would be for older versions, but it's till a high level of support for changing function and appearance to suit the user. It is supported on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Several add-ons are available which add mouse gesture functionality. Opera: This may be the hidden gem of the browser world. It's highly web standards compliant, quite fast, and comes with a lot of the features people add to Firefox built in. Mouse gestures, bookmark synchronization, RSS feed previews, and speed dial are all standard. It even allows for custom theming to change the appearance to suite you. It is supported on Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris, and FreeBSD operating systems. Flock: Like social media like Flickr, MySpace, and Twitter? Flock has the benefits of the base installation of Firefox, with all the social media functions you'll need. It's based on their Firefox browser, but with social media in mind. Set it up and it will keep you connected to all of your social sites. It has themes and add-ons available, but comes standard with a blog editor, photo upload functionality, feed reader, media bar and more. It currently doesn't support mouse gestures, even with an add-on, but it's a relatively new browser and I expect that to come allow later. Chrome: Produced by Google, Chrome is one of the fastest browsers you could choose. Along with good web standards compliance, that makes it a nice choice for the everyday Internet user. While it might not have the add-on base that Firefox does, it has everything the average user needs in a nice presentation. While it doesn't have theme capability, it actually doesn't really need it. Made in a very minimalist style, very little of the browsers is actually visible. What you see is the web page you want. Personally, I really like the ability to turn a tab into a solo page by just dragging it off the page. A very clever option. Currently only available on the Windows OS. Safari: Originally for the Mac, Safari is now available for Windows as well. With the good standards compliance in both versions, this browser advertises itself as the "fastest browser on any platform". While you could argue that other browsers have now surpassed it, you can't argue that it is very fast. While it doesn't come with much in the way of appearance customization, its clean appearance goes along way toward making up for that. While it isn't my favorite choice, it surpasses IE on just about every way measurable. That's not the whole list. There are other choices available. Take a look and I'm sure you'll find a browser with the features you want. Whether it's minimalist styling, hundreds or thousands of add-ons and themes, extremely fast loading, or all of the social media functionality you could want, there is a browser out there that has it. Give them a try, you'll find the one you that's right. Maybe you'll find more than one.