I was pretty excited about the release of Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 by the Internet Explorer development team yesterday. If you would have asked me before that day, I would have never agreed that a new Internet Explorer version could be exciting. But that version is full of surprises.
It seems that Microsoft took a good look around in the browser market, analyzed great features of competing web browsers, and integrated those in the new Internet Explorer 8 Beta release.
This begins when you start Internet Explorer 8 for the first time. It asks you if you want to import bookmarks from either Firefox or Opera into the Microsoft browser. Something unthinkable in the past, at least at such a prominent position and location in the browser.
Bookmark import is quick and Internet Explorer 8 does not seem to have a problem importing Firefox 3 bookmarks. That's good. Internet Explorer 8 features an add-on browser similar to that of Firefox with the exception that you cannot search for add-ons in the menu itself.
It does list all the installed toolbars, plugins and add-ons though which is great for getting a quick overview and disabling them.
The memory footprint of Internet Explorer 8 is surprisingly low, using only half of the computer memory and virtual memory that Firefox 3 uses under similar circumstances.
Internet Explorer 8 Address Bar:
The new address bar incorporates auto suggestions, the history, bookmarks and feeds looks clean and tidy which I personally like better than the all mixed address bar that Firefox 3 uses.
The only negative aspect are the light colors that are used, it is hard to read for the eyes. Could be related to the Windows colors that I'm using on my system though.
Find On Page:
Another handy feature is the advanced find on page option that displays the number of occurrences of a term on a website.
That's handy if you are scrolling through a source code or large website and want to find a specific item. This enhanced feature highlights all finds on the page at once which is great for a quick overview and orientation.
Internet Explorer will add the same color to tabs if a user opens a link from an existing tab making it easy to distinguish websites and information.
Undo Close Tabs / Restore Sessions:
Internet Explorer comes with features to reopen tabs that have been closed by the user.
The search box shows real time suggestions now, including images plus it includes the user's favorites and browsing history.
Accelerators are functions to use services of other websites on the current page. It reminds me a bit of Ubiquity (of Firefox) with the difference that Accelerators are individual services that have to be activated.
Accelerators are installed like add-ons and provide access to popular services like Stumbleupon, Facebook or Google Maps.
Web Slices are items that can be placed in the Internet Explorer Favorites Bar that update automatically. This can be news related, new items on eBay or Amazon, weather information or practically anything that is updated regularly.
Security has taken a major step in the right direction. Internet Explorer 8 comes with a Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) filter, Domain highlighting, Per-site and Per-user ActiveX and Data execution prevention.
InPrivate Browsing was introduced which allows to surf the web without storing data about that session in the browser.
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 shows lots of promise. The version is feature complete which means that there will be no additional features in the release candidates and final release version of Internet Explorer 8.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.