Chris Messina, who used to work on Flock (an open source browser based on the same code that runs Firefox), says the beast has woken up. Beast being Microsoft.
But IE7 does have some challenges ahead of it. Some sites in it render very slow. Most notably for me, Google Reader (that’s now my most used Web site because I’m reading all my feeds there and building my link blog with it). I’m also using the new Firefox 2 and Firefox is a LOT faster. IE7 is frustratingly slow on Google Reader. It seems to hang whenever new stuff is being downloaded in the background via AJAX. To be fair, Google is probably pushing the browser in all sorts of ways, even the MSN team decided to back off on its use of AJAX due to speed problems, though (Live.com used to have an infinite scroll capability, which I really loved but they got rid of it after speed complaints came in).
I haven’t yet visited enough sites with both browsers to know whether this is a single site problem, or an experience that I’ll have overall, but Firefox 2 does seem faster.
UPDATE: I just went to Google Maps with both browsers too. Same results. Firefox 2 is a LOT faster on AJAX (dragging the map around feels a lot better on Firefox 2).
On Local.live.com, though, both browsers behaved almost exactly the same (both were fast).
I wonder what the difference in AJAX calls are between the two mapping sites. That might demonstrate that Web 2 sites might need to do some homework to get their sites to be performant in both IE7 and Firefox.
By the way, I just did a little “start up test” of both browsers. I set both browsers home page to TechMeme. Then I started both up. Then I closed both. Then I started them both up again. Both times Firefox noticeably beat IE7 on completing the page load.
So, my #1 wish for IE8 is already “more speed please.”
What have your experiences been?