Feeds

Internet Explorer - now with 35% less FAIL

Playing catchup with IE8 beta 2

Website security in corporate America

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 has been released, and it certainly makes for better browsing than the rough-around-the-edges beta 1 build.

Rather than recommend the code only to web designers and developers of stout courage, Microsoft is throwing open the door for end-users one and all. The build adds some notable security and search functions into the mix, but it's still going to be a hard sell to woo back all those that already parted ways with Internet Explorer for greener pastures.

In terms of features, much here is simply catch-up to the likes of Firefox, Opera, and Safari. So, while IE8 is easily an improvement over its predecessor, the browser's place amongst the competition is extremely debatable. (Nice bit of diplomacy, eh?)

So let's see what makes IE8 tick.

Site suggestions

A new "Suggested Sites" feature recommends other websites of interest based on the user's history. Neat, but in the long run, probably about as useful as Google's "Feeling Lucky" button.

El Reg: often described as the "ants swarm over Houston area" of Europe

There also appears to be some interesting six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-like behavior in its algorithm.

Safer self-sex

As we couldn't help but mention earlier, beta 2 also introduces Microsoft's own version of "privacy mode" browsing. Dubbed "InPrivate Browsing," it opens a new window that conveniently wipes itself clean when closed. The browsing session's web page history, passwords, address bar data, and autocomplete data are not stored, and cookies and other temporary internet files get deleted when the session is over. Meanwhile "InPrivate Blocking" prevents some ads and other content from showing up on web pages.

Microsoft claims InPrivate is just fantastic for some oh-so-likely scenarios such as "shopping for a gift on a family PC." Yeah...shopping for gifts. That's the ticket. Now if only there was a way to hide that 80GB stash of "gift idea jpgs."

Safely trip the skin fantastic

We should note that there are certainly other ways to track someone's web use without any access to localized data. But this kind of feature is at least effective for thwarting rookie snoops.

Robust right clicks

For some reason, Microsoft changed the name of its contextual right-click tools that debuted in beta 1. They were called "Activities," and now they're "Accelerators." The function, however, remains the same.

Accelerators simply suggest several common operations when a word or phrase is highlighted.

Bitches don't know my Socratic Paradox blogging skillz

Of course, everything is flipped to Microsoft's own tools by default. Mercifully, there's also a wider selection of services to chose from.

Tabs no longer broken

The new toys are nice, but arguably the most practical addition is an ability to quickly re-open tabs after they've been closed. Like most of what IE8 brings to the table, this is in no way a new function for most of today's browsers. But given it took Microsoft until IE7 to add tabs in the first place, we mustn't hold ourselves above cooing in delight over baby steps.

Oh good lord, finally

I simply don't understand people who don't use tabs. It's unnatural. But when one walks in the path of righteousness with tabs 'ablazing, there's bound to be a few that get closed by accident. Not offering the ability to quickly re-open tabs you've closed is inexcusable in a modern browser. Safari, I'm looking at you.

Fancy-pants Searching

IE's address bar now works like it does in Firefox 3, working not only as a place to enter a web site's URL, but functioning as a search bar that scours your RSS feeds and history.

The dedicated search bar on the upper right can also easily be customized to only retrieve results from a particular web site. For instance, entering The Register here:

Because we're worth it

Then you can search for this:

We don't recommend using Google to locate this Reg avian censorship story

Without requiring this:

Quite

®

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

More from The Register

next story
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
iOS 8 release: WebGL now runs everywhere. Hurrah for 3D graphics!
HTML 5's pretty neat ... when your browser supports it
'People have forgotten just how late the first iPhone arrived ...'
Plus: 'Google's IDEALISM is an injudicious justification for inappropriate biz practices'
Mathematica hits the Web
Wolfram embraces the cloud, promies private cloud cut of its number-cruncher
Mozilla shutters Labs, tells nobody it's been dead for five months
Staffer's blog reveals all as projects languish on GitHub
SUSE Linux owner Attachmate gobbled by Micro Focus for $2.3bn
Merger will lead to mainframe and COBOL powerhouse
iOS 8 Healthkit gets a bug SO Apple KILLS it. That's real healthcare!
Not fit for purpose on day of launch, says Cupertino
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.