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AOL’s entry into Browser War – OpenRide

AOL has announced OpenRide, an IE based browser.
Still in beta, OpenRide promises a new browsing experience, but after having used it for few hours, I have mixed feelings about it.

Apart from regular features like tabbed browsing, OpenRide’s name to fame is its dynamic four-pane design. Basically, what this means is that the browser is divided in 4 panes –

  • Email,
  • IM,
  • Music/Video and
  • General Browsing

This is quite an innovative idea and OpenRide has some really cool feature::

  • The panes in OpenRide automatically resize to your current activity. You click on any one of the pane, and the others are resized accordingly.
  • You get a thumbnail previews, and sneak peeks of emails and attachments.
  • A new all-in-one Media Center that lets you enjoy video, music and pictures faster and with less hassles (depends on your internet connection, though)
  • Access your pop3 emails from the OpenRide Mail pane. Each of your email accounts are kept in separate folders, and you don’t have to sign in to each account to switch back and forth to manage them all. (but to access this, you need to be online; It would have been great if OpenRide could store my emails offline!!)

Overall, I must say that its a new product in the market. New, in the sense of newer experience of browsing and OpenRide definitely has set a new benchmark for the existing browsers.

Now, time for some brickbats:

  • OpenRide expects you to have a very good internet connectivity – I don’t understand why a browser expects me to get a broadband connection.
  • OpenRide comes with a desktop search tool (I noticed this when I was uninstalling the product) – The desktop search tool is mainly aimed to search for all your media files and bring them onto the OpenRide browser. My concern – As a customer, I should be aware of the hidden products that are being installed by any product.
  • While playing the videos, OpenRide crashed very frequently.
  • Somehow, I didn’t get a *wow* feeling – In spite of all those nifty features, OpenRide fails in creating a user experience (maybe its clogged UI?)
  • As of the beta version, the browser is integrated with only AIM instant messenger (which I don’t use)

Word of Caution – It’s the same company which leaked the user data. So you’ve gotta try this browser at your own risk! As far as I am concerned, I have already uninstalled it and have switched back to Firefox/IE world.
But if you are an AOL fan, I strongly suggest you to try out OpenRide. Do let me know your experience with OpenRide.

Related: Download OpenRide | Surf web anonymously

Filed Under: Openride

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