Mention "browser," and almost certainly Internet Explorer and Firefox will be up for discussion, and with good reason. Together, those two browsers have about 95 percent of the market, with Internet Explorer accounting for the lion's share of that, according to December stats compiled by Web-based applications vendor Net Applications.
But they're not the only browsers around. There are plenty of others, including those aimed at mobile users. Each commands just a miniscule portion of the Internet audience, but some deserve many more eyeballs thanks to innovative features or for other reasons. For instance, because Microsoft discontinued Mac support for Internet Explorer, users on that platform will want to investigate other options.
We looked at a few of the lesser known--or, in the case of Netscape, less-well-used--offerings out there: Opera 8.51, Netscape 8.0.4, Flock 0.4.10 and Safari 2.0.2. Each brings a unique flavor to its Web display. We tested them on either Windows XP Professional or Mac OS X 10.4 or both. Opera and Flock are available for Windows and OS X as well as Linux, but Netscape is available only for Windows (as of version 8) and Safari is available only for Mac OS X. If you want to browse the Web your way, you might want to look into one of these options.
Flock is a new entrant to the market, currently available only as a developer preview. A free open-source offering, Flock has been described as a "social browser," because it was designed to make it simple for anyone to contribute to the Web.