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Internet Explorer 8 Kicks Off Beta Tag

Gordon Kelly


Internet Explorer 8 Kicks Off Beta Tag

It really is browser war time once again... and Microsoft is now determined to be part of the scrap.

Following a rash of browser updates with the likes of Safari 4, Firefox 3.1 (eventually 3.5 at release), Chrome 2.0 and even Fennec 1.0 Beta has come the long awaited Internet Explorer 8. Arriving a whole 18 months after the release of IE7, the overhauled browser introduces a rash of new features as it attempts to throw off its image as slow, bloated, Swiss cheese security software.

So what's in there? Well, in all honesty little has changed from the IE 8 Release Candidate revealed in December but now we can at least confirm what additional functionality is nailed down.

Taking many leaves from rival offerings we see a new smart address bar akin to the Firefox 'Awesome bar' which performs searches and predicts relevant web pages as you type. Next are 'Accelerators' which mimic Firefox's Context Search add-on by adding right quick search engine functionality, though the choice of sites isn't customisable. 'Web Slices' previews content from bookmarks and 'ACR' saves your tabs and restores them should IE crash.

Other noteworthy additions are 'InPrivate', the famed porn mode 'Incognito Window' first seen in Chrome and now Firefox 3.1 Beta for untracked browsing and 'Tab Grouping' which recognises websites with the same visual representation and groups them together.

As for performance, early reports are less encouraging with claims IE8 still remains significantly slower than the latest builds of Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Safari while its Acid3 scores are nothing to write home about. In terms of availability Windows 7 users are also left out in the cold with no support coming until the Release Candidate of the OS is released later in the year so it remains XP and Vista only for now.

Furthermore, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer states "With Internet Explorer 8... provides protection that no other browser can match" that hasn't been shown to be the case.

At the 'Pwn2Own' hacking competition this week IE8 along with Firefox fell within 'hours' according to the hosts. They weren't the worst however as Safari was compromised in 'a couple of seconds' and only Chrome survived the day unscathed (Opera wasn't part of the contest).

Despite all this, if Internet Explorer 8 still holds your interest (darned free will) then you can grab it now from the official site link below...




March 20, 2009, 7:45 am

For some reason IE 8 causes my Sidebar to crash on startup. I have now removed it and my Sidebar is working again. Don't know if anyone else has experienced this?


March 20, 2009, 4:00 pm

Suprised about Safari going down so quickly. I thought that was supposed to be uber secure. I would've been interested to see how Opera stacked up, that being my browser of choice.


March 20, 2009, 4:24 pm


The attendees bring pre tested exploit code (they are allowed to, which I feel kind of defeats the point of the contest), so I'm more surprised everything didn't fail quicker. Also, with Safari (webkit) being open source it is a lot easier to find security holes for it. On the flip side, the holes get seen and fixed a lot quicker.


March 20, 2009, 5:22 pm

@Stephen Allred - Chrome is webkit based and didn't fall all day...


March 20, 2009, 6:36 pm

I seem to be taken by any new browser, and IE8 has done it again...From Firefox 2, to IE7, to Firefox 3, to Google Chrome, to Safari 4.... And now IE8 is the browser of choice. Much like their marketing has tried to push, sure IE is slower than others, but not THAT much slower. Amazon seems to load in the same time, so does the bbc news website, which are two of the top 20 websites I would imagine.

Functionality wise, this is behind firefox on features, but stability and compatability are second to none. With the growth of sites not in the english language, the live translate accelerator is particularly good. Accelerators feel like something that have existed in web browsing much like the context menu itself.

Just knowing that every site will work is sometimes worth the little sacrifices in performance.

Plus Norton Site-safe works immediately with IE8.

Hamish Campbell

March 21, 2009, 11:10 am

oh darkspark, you browser slut. :)

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