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Sneak peek at Internet Explorer 8

The latest trial version of Internet Explorer 8 became available a couple of weeks ago so we’ll spend some time looking at what features we can make use of when the final version is released later in the year.

Because the web browser is our principal gateway to the Internet, we have to be careful about our privacy and we have a right to know if our personal information is being gathered by a third party. So next time you’re on your favourite Internet news page, scan the page and count how many other websites are being used on your news page. Then ask what personal information these sites might be collecting and check their privacy statement. To help us hide personal information when the need arises (e.g. when in a library or internet cafe) Internet Explorer 8 has an Inprivate mode which means no browsing history is kept on the computer you’re using.

Internet Explorer 8 brings up a list of sites matching what you type in the address bar

From studying browsing habits it’s been found that eighty percent of the time users return to a group of favourite websites. Internet Explorer 8 helps navigate with an expansion of how the address bar works. Now when you type into the address bar, IE8 returns all matches that now include website addresses from your history, favorites and RSS feeds. As well the page title is shown to remind you of the web page’s content and results are grouped according to their source (history, favorites, and so on) with each list sorted by relevancy based on how often you visit that particular site.

As you type in the address bar, key letters are highlighted as Internet Explorer attempts to give you the closest result it can find from your history and favorites. This features helps you more easily find a site you’ve recently visited but it also a part to play in helping you avoid phishing sites (these sites often use website addresses which are close to the correct one, e.g., your banking site, in an attempt to mislead you). Bear in mind that since Internet Explorer 7’s introduction the phishing filter, more than one million phishing sites per week have been and continue to be detected.

Tabs opened from the same page are grouped by colour

Tabbed browsing is now part of all the latest browsers. A simple but effective use of tabbed browsing is when you visit the ABC news page, for example, and then want to read different stories referred to on that page. Right-click on each story’s title and choose the Open in New Tab option from the popup menu so each story opens in its own tab. In Internet Explorer 8 you’ll find each tab is colour coded so you can easily recognise the group of tabs you’ve opened from the ABC news page, for example.

When you open a new tab you’ll find a list of sites you’ve recently visited based on your browsing history in case you want to return to one or more of them (remember the eighty percent rule mentioned above).

Open a new tab in Internet Explorer 8

Also on the new tab page is a mention of Accelerators. Often when browsing a page there’ll be a word you want to know the meaning of, a place you’d like to look up on a map, or a search you want to make. In the past it was a matter of copying the word, address or phrase, opening a new tab, browsing to the relevant website, pasting in the word, location or phrase, and waiting for a result. In Internet Explorer 8, copy-paste-navigate is old hat. Simply highlight the word or phrase, right-click and choose the relevant service from the popup menu.

Find Chatsworth CA on Live Maps without leaving the news story page

While the popular press are quick to compare eye-candy features between the different web browsers available, you also need to examine how well your web browser protects you from the malicious criminals who want to steal your money. The latest-and-greatest navigation features of a web browser aren’t worth it unless there’s an underlying emphasis on privacy and security so you know your personal information is as safe as it possibly can be.

Here are some sites to get you started:

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Posted using the Tech Preview of Windows Live Writer.

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