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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 debuts

The final version of the much expected Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) was penultimate Thursday released to the public, as reported by ZDNet.

Affirming this, head, Windows Business Group at Microsoft United Kingdom, Mr. John Curran, noted that the beta version proved that IE8 was technically faster than rival browsers such as Firefox and Google’s Chrome.

Yet, he admitted that the browsers all “rendered at about parity”, and any differences were only measurable in “fractions of seconds”.

Tests comparing IE8 with the beta of Safari 4 had not taken place because the latest version of Apple’s browser had not been available at the time, Curran said.

Many of the new features in IE8 are already available in rival browsers. One example is the InPrivate browsing mode, which opens up a fresh window that does not store the user’s browsing history.

This feature, he said, already exists in Chrome and Safari, even as the Smart Address Bar, which adds search functionality to the address bar at the top of the browser, resembles that of Firefox’s “Awesome Bar” and Chrome’s Omnibox.

If one tab in the browser crashes, it now no longer takes down the whole application. Again, this feature of running each opened tab as a separate instance can be found in Chrome.

The report further said that a major new feature of IE8 is what Microsoft calls “tab groups” which relate tabs, for example where one tab has been opened from another or both tabs were from the same site, colour-coded to make their relationship immediately apparent.

Stressing that the so-called “accelerators” are also new to IE8, but the feature allows users to select text on a webpage and then click on the selected text to bring up a list of possible actions, such as translating the text, using the text as a search string for Live Search, or looking for a selected post code on Live Search Maps. Accelerators also allow selected text to be shared instantly via social networking tools such as Twitter.

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