Google Chrome is definitely from the "less is more" school. The browser's UI is Spartan compared to IE 8's and has no dedicated Search box, instead combining search and auto-complete suggestions as part of a single, unified address superbox. New tabs open to reveal thumbnail views of frequently visited sites (IE 8 offers a similar view but focuses on recently closed tabs) and can be dragged into, out of, and between Chrome windows, allowing you to isolate, combine, and reorganize tabs on the fly (something you really need to experience first-hand to appreciate). And in a sign of the times, Chrome features its own take on "porn mode" (dubbed Incognito), where cookies and history data are deleted as soon as the tab is closed.
Overall, both IE 8 Beta 2 and the Chrome Beta look like compelling options. Each pushes the boundaries of Web application robustness while consuming gobs of resources and generally ignoring legacy hardware (i.e., systems more than 18 months old). Chrome will no doubt receive most of the attention, if for no other reason than it's from Google and thus "newer" and "cooler" than IE (not to mention, potentially more stable). However, I wouldn't count Microsoft out quite yet. The company still has the upper hand in overall browser share, and if nothing else, IE 8 is designed to appeal to Microsoft's user base by extending and enhancing what they already know. And, of course, IE 8 will eventually ship as part of the next Windows, a fact that virtually guarantees Microsoft's influence will continue to be felt in the next phase of the Web's evolution.
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