- Internet & the Web
Overview of Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Browser
The majority of people that I know stopped using the Internet Explorer browser some time ago in favor of the enhanced browsing features available with other major Internet browsers such as Firefox. I tend to like to stick with the things that I'm familiar with longer than is probably good for me which is why I still use Internet Explorer for the majority of my web browsing. With the release of the new Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, I feel like I can catch back up to the people who are using other browsers while still enjoying the things that I originally liked about Internet Explorer.
Take a look at some of the basic things that a new user should know about the new IE8:
What Is IE8?
Internet Explorer 8 is the newly released version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser. It is currently in Beta 2 which means that it is open to use by the public and currently available for download but of course there are still a couple of kinks being worked out. The good news about those kinks is that they mean you can choose to help shape the final product by opting in to offer feedback to Microsoft when downloading the browser.
Major Changes to IE8 from IE7
These are the things that you are going to find are different with Internet Explorer 8:
• Web Slices. This is a feature added to your toolbar which allows you to see updates to any website that has an RSS feed. This means that you no longer have to use a separate notifier to see that your Gmail account, Facebook friends' sites or favorite blogs have been updated. You just see the tab light up and you can quickly check if the update is something you want to see more in depth or not
• Suggested Sites. You can choose to include a feature on Internet Explorer 8 which allows you to see sites that are similar to the one that you are looking at. The feature is unobtrusive; it's just a tab on the tool bar. When you are on a site that you like, you head up to the tab and it will give you information about approximately five sites that are similar to the one that you are looking at.
• Advanced Tabbing. The tab features of the new Internet Explorer make it easy to organize the pages that you are looking at. They also give the user a wide variety of options per tab. When looking at a site, you can open a new tab from that site and the tabs will be color-coded into a group that goes together. This allows for organized web browsing on a large number of sites at one time. Using the drop down menu, you can easily ungroup or regroup these colored tabs to keep things organized in a way that makes sense to you. A great feature is that you can re-open tabs that you've just closed or tabs that you've looked at recently - a major benefit to those of us with quick, clumsy fingers that often accidentally close tabs we wanted to keep open.
• Accelerators. This is a feature that allows you to take what's happening on the site that you are on and easily use that information on another site. By right-clicking on the site to get a drop-down menu, you can easily post pieces of websites and links to a blog, search for something from the website on a map and email portions of the website to others. There are advanced accelerators for those people who want to perform other similar tasks.
• Address and Search Bar Improvements. Overall there have been vast improvements to the searching that takes place with IE8 both on the pages that you have open and when using the browser to search for sites. In terms of on-the-site browsing, it is now easy to use the "find" feature to find what you want to on a web page because of advanced highlighting features that simplify this type of search. In terms of using IE8's address bar and search bar, there are now suggestion prompts that make it easy to find the URLs and sites that you want to find; there is also a level of user control which allows you to delete suggestions that you don't want to see again. So, imagine that you've mistyped a URL into the address bar in the past; when you go to type a new one in, that one may come up as a suggestion - you simply delete it so you don't have to see it anymore.
• Enhanced Privacy. This new browser has a privacy feature called InPrivate Browsing. When you turn this on, the information that you browse will not be available after the browser has closed. So, imagine that you open up an InPrivate browsing session to look through sites that you don't want your girlfriend to know you browse. When the browser is closed, all traces that you were on those sites will disappear. People using IE8 on a shared computer may find this feature to be beneficial. It is also said to keep email histories and other generally private information more secure on shared computers.
• Technical stuff. Reviews of the new browser from leading tech sites indicate that there are technical benefits to the new browser such as the fact that it is more compliant with industry standards than IE has been in the past.
Summary of IE8 Beta 2
As someone who uses Internet Explorer as my main browser, I'm really liking what I see as the changes that make up this new version. People who use browsers like Firefox may find that the changes only make Microsoft's browser finally comparable in advanced features to the other browsers that are out there. In other words, if you love Firefox, then you may not want to make the switch but if you're already using Internet Explorer 7 then an upgrade to IE8 could offer you some great user benefits that you aren't getting with your current version of the browser.