Internet Explorer 8 Features And Their Firefox Equivalent

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 28, 2008
Updated • Sep 25, 2017

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 introduced several exciting new features to the upcoming Microsoft browser which hit the Internet by surprise. No one would have thought that Microsoft would add that much value to the second beta of Internet Explorer 8, the upcoming new version of Windows' default web browser.

The Internet Explorer 8 development team announced new features, and managed to increase the performance and security of the coming Microsoft flagship browser.

Firefox on the other hand will see an immense performance gain in version 3.1 when the Mozilla development team integrates the new JavaScript interpreter. Good times ahead when it comes to web browsers on Windows.

The following list concentrates on features of Internet Explorer 8 that have been introduced by Microsoft and their Firefox equivalent. This is usually a Firefox add-on that offers the same functionality as the hard-coded Microsoft feature. Only features that have not been in Firefox 3 by default have been added. Features like restoring tabs have are not included therefore.

Note: Many of the add-ons may not work anymore in recent versions of the Firefox web browser. Mozilla dropped legacy add-on support in Firefox 57, and the new add-on system WebExtensions does not support all functionality of it.

Find on Page

Microsoft highlights all hits and provides the number of found results next to the search box.

  • Find In Numbers - Integrates itself in the Find menu when it is popping up displaying the number of hits on a page for the search phrase. Firefox already comes with a Highlight All option in the Find bar.
  • HighlightAll - Not exactly the same functionality. It highlights all occurrences of a word that has been selected and displays the count in the status bar.

Address Bar

Incorporates auto suggestions, the history, bookmarks and feeds and presents them in a categorized view.

  • A user style is available that marks different results in a different colors.

Tab Groups

Internet Explorer 8 creates tab groups automatically when the user launches a new site in a new tab from an existing tab.

  • Tab Kit - provides the feature to group tabs by domain or parent tab. Adds several other interesting features to Firefox like multi-row tabs.
  • Group / Sort Tabs - a lightweight alternative to Tab Kit with less functionality.

Enhanced Search

Internet Explorer 8 displays enhanced search results including images using auto suggestions in the search box.

  • Firefox is making use of Google Suggest to provide search suggestions in the search box.
  • There is no option to combine text and image results.


Accelerators are add-ons for Internet Explorer 8 that make it possible to use other web services without leaving the site, e.g looking up an address on Google Maps.

  • Ubiquity (discontinued) - This Firefox 3 prototype extension uses a different method of making other web services accessible on the current website but it can provide the same functionality, e.g. looking up addresses on Google Maps.
  • IE8 Activities for Firefox - A Firefox extension that replicates IE8 Accelerators exactly. It even supports those offered for Internet Explorer

Web Slices

Web Slices are information that can be put into a toolbar and automatically update themselves, think about weather information, eBay searches, Amazon items.

  • Webchunks - It completely replicates the Internet Explorer feature.

InPrivate Browsing

When the user activates InPrivate Browsing history, temporary files and cookies are not stored on the user's computer.

  • Stealther - Can disable the following on activation: - Browsing History (also in Address bar), Cookies, Downloaded Files History, Disk Cache, Saved Form Information, Sending of ReferrerHeader, Recently Closed Tabs list

InPrivate Blocking

Can block third party content that tracks and aggregates online behavior.

  • Adblock Plus - Can disable advertisement and cookies that track the user.

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) filter

Internet Explorer 8 makes use of a Cross-Site Scripting filter that can detect Type-1 XSS attacks.

  • NoScript - Can Protect against any kind of script on the Internet including cross-site scripting attacks.

Did I miss an extension that does a better job? Let me know.

Internet Explorer 8 Features And Their Firefox Equivalent
Article Name
Internet Explorer 8 Features And Their Firefox Equivalent
The article compares features of Microsoft's upcoming web browser Internet Explorer with features of Mozilla's Firefox web browser.
Ghacks Technology News

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Incurablegeek said on June 1, 2010 at 5:59 am

    I’m really sorry to be negative but I DO try to keep an open mind. After years of using every iteration of IE, I found Firefox with all of its so very convenient add-ons. Well, I was told to try the “new” IE 8 with its plethora of add-ons. Quite simply put, this abundance of add-ons for IE8 reminds me of a department store in a “developing country”, only with even fewer choices.

  2. Rimher said on September 21, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Well i use Kallout as a Accelerator equivalent in Firefox and it seems to be working pretty good for me

  3. TheKman said on January 22, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    You didn’t mention IE8’s Domain Highlighting. For this, you can use the Firefox Extension “Locationbar2”

  4. Core said on September 15, 2008 at 8:22 pm

    I watched videos on IE8, alot of stuff they introduced looked like stuff on FF3 or something you can get on FF using extensions.

    Their “Development Tools” looks almost exactly like Firebug on Firefox. (And when I mean exactly, I mean it has the same layout as firebug with a few more menues/options). Still good to see it on there, though. A well needed tool for sure.

    It’s kind of sad that they act like they are *brand new*, in my opinion, but im glad they are improving it.

    Also like that they are improving there web-standards compatibility.

  5. Roman ShaRP said on August 31, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Nice reference. Although I will try never to use the IE, it’s nice to remind people about how powerful and flexible is Firefox :)

  6. -=Ben=- said on August 29, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Awesome article Martin… Thanks!
    It is good to know that Firefox can hold it’s own!

  7. What is XSS? said on August 29, 2008 at 11:04 am

    Can NoScript be configured to prevent only XSS issues? I’d like to use it for that purpose, but it’s standard settings are way too agressive for me.

  8. Transcontinental said on August 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    Nice reference, thanks Martin. I’m copying it to my ScrapBook, that is if you don’t mind.

    I’m trying (to try) Ubiquity. ‘IE8 Activities for Firefox’ seems more obvious yet with lesser potential, I’ll wait for IE8 to try it there before, perhaps.

    Things are moving fast, gosh, go man go!

  9. joshua said on August 28, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Martin, out of interest whats the comparison like between IE8 and Firefox with all these these extensions running?

    Incidentally, the best new feature IE8 has, has to be the way a tab can be isolated and crash independently of the browser…

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.