Saturday, August 30, 2008

Review: Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2

After a few minutes using IE8b2, I've got a few notes about it to share. Mostly positive changes, but this is a beta release, thus the feature set isn't set in stone quite yet. Nevertheless, I must add, I'm still posting this note from Firefox.

What's new?

  • Domain name (and TLD) highlighting - The address bar now by default dims the "excess" text such as the directories and subdomains, showing the domain name of the website you are visiting with clear emphasis. How does this help? Preventing phishing; spoofs become more obvious.

  • Tabs colored by where they came from - Tabs are grouped by the referrer tab, and colored accordingly. Example: You visit Google News and open a link to the NY Times there in a new tab, both tabs will be shaded the same color.

  • Bookmark and history search in the address bar - For those of you who have used Firefox 3, this feature will feel very similar to the AwesomeBar. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, the title of this item says it all, the web browser searches your history and bookmarks as you type in the address bar, making it easier find places you have visited without having to remember the full address.

  • InPrivate - This feature, under the Safety menu to the top right, allows users to open a new window and allows the user to surf and leave a minimal footprint on the computer they are using. No cookies, no temporary files, no history. It also attempts to block third-party websites from tracking you across the web (think advertising groups). I particularly see this being useful on public computers.
  • Web slices - This feature leaves me scratching my head. I feel if it takes me more than a minute to figure out how to use something, it isn't very intuitive. It looks promising, although I'm not totally sure what it's supposed to do. I'm routing for a RSS/Atom previewer, but for now I'll be keeping my fingers crossed as at the moment the only way I see to modify it is to using a Microsoft list of feeds.
  • Quick Tabs - Another positive here, the quick tab button, to the left of the tab bar, gives a quick graphical view of each tab open.

If you wish to read more on the subject, I suggest visiting Wikipedia's article.

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