Monday, September 3, 2007

Review of B3 web-browser

Have you ever heard of B3 (browser-based-browser)? It is a product by AOL. If you are still trying to figure out what is browser-based-browser, let me tell you it is a web-browser that runs inside another web-browser. I am writing a short review of my experiences with this browser. I have tried B3 with firefox, konqueror and elinks. But the results seem to be similar for other browsers as well.
I came across this web-browser while I was searching for something else. A web-browser by AOL, it sounded great to me. So, I thought to find out what it was. I came to know it can run in inside your web-browser on different platforms and according to them it can run on Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera and many other browsers. I couldn't understand what could be the use of a browser that needs the support of other browser. Anyways i thought why not give it a try? Guess what, no need to download packages. Just click this link
and your browser may look like this if you are using firefox.

When I chose OK, the alert message was displayed which said "Most excellent choice!". But you will run into trouble with the alert boxes popping out regularly which say "Gotcha! April Fools! hee hee..." in case you choose Cancel.
Anyways, I typed in the navigation bar provided by AOL and as expected google search page was there. I tried it out for yahoo and many others. It worked. But to much dismay, the excitement ended here. When you click on a hyperlink, the navigation bar's URL doesn't change on AOL. While on your original browser (firefox or any other), the URL displayed is the URL of B3 and not the page you are currently visiting. So, it is very difficult to figure out the page URL you have currently opened. It was really getting difficult for me to bear with this so called browser and understand why AOL designed it.
The biggest shock came to me when I tried to test the browser's support for plugins. I opened same page in B3 (firefox) as well as B3 (konqueror) which required JRE (Java Runtime Environment) enabled. JRE is enabled in my Firefox but not in konqueror. The page in firefox opened while not in Konqueror. That was a shock!!!
I thought if I had carried on with it that much, why not try it in elinks too. The browser opens but URLs typed can't be opened.
The AOL claims its browser is for consistency and gaming. Though the product is still in alpha phase according to the link I found, I simply disagree with the idea of a browser inside another browser which is doing absolutely fine.
What I can understand is that B3 is merely a ad on top of your page in the browser displayed for free (atleast adsense pays you for the ads on the page) that forwards the URL typed in its input box to your original browser. Otherwise, why different results in case of Jave enabled page. I may be wrong but it was my experience.
Try out and post your experience in the comments.

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