The IE-based Maxthon browser released a much anticipated version 2 today. This comes just 3-months after Google invested an astounding $1 million into the browser, and that raised a lot of eyebrows because of the close relationship Google has with Firefox. I’m guessing that Google saw it as a way to gain more popularity in China since 17% of people there use it to search sites like Google and Yahoo. Why? Because users can set it up to use proxies that will bypass any filtering techniques employed by the government.
We actually took a look at Maxthon 2 starting in August 2006 (yes, it’s been in development for over a year now). There hasn’t been many new features since then, but there have been quite a few bug fixes. For those of you thinking about trying it out here’s what you’ll find in Maxthon 2:
- New Look & Optimized Layout – The default skin of Maxthon Browser has been completely redesigned and polished to provide a clear and smooth user experience.
- Fully Customizable Interface – Almost all elements of Maxthon Browser are customizable. You can create layout to fit your browsing habit and have a different look of Maxthon Browser by applying skins.
- Quick Search – Type the keywords you want to search in the address bar and press Enter, Maxthon will search them with the Default Search Engine. You can also do a search by drag & drop selected text in page.
- Mouse Gestures – Hold down right mouse button and move in different directions, you can perform a lot of common operations with it.
- Super Drag & Drop – Drag & Drop a Link to open it in new Tab. Drag & Drop to Perform a search on selected text. With key combinations, you can perform even more operations with this feature.
- Feed Reader – Maxthon Browser has integrated a powerful and easy to use Feed Reader sidebar which supports all RSS and Atom feed formats.
- Popup Blocker – Prevent unwanted popup windows to show up unless it’s triggered by your interaction.
- Content Filter – Remove Ad Images & Flash Movies from your view.
- Anti-Freeze – Maxthon has developed a new technology to prevent freezing due to AJAX while browsing websites.
- Web Sniffer – Helps you find the real URL’s of FLV video files on sites like YouTube.
- Screen Capture – Capture Full Screen, Selected Area, Selected Window and Page Content as an image. Then copy it to the clipboard or save it to a file.
Of course there are two features that disappointingly don’t seem to work. One is the tab manager which I mentioned in my early review, and the other is Aero Glass support on Vista. The tab manager is equivalent to Internet Explorer 7’s thumbnail view of all your open tabs, and the Aero Glass support is supposed to add transparency to things like the address bar (for those of you running Vista).
Another disappointing thing is that you can no longer use the Gecko engine in Maxthon, which is a feature the previous version had. In Maxthon 1.5 you could choose whether you wanted tabs to render using Gecko (the same thing Firefox uses), or have it use the IE rendering engine. The benefit of using Gecko is that sites will typically load faster, but as it turns out most people only use Maxthon because it uses IE to render sites.