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Internet Explorer 8 launches today around the world. The new browser features increased speed and security, as well as new browsing modes and other new features.  (Source: Microsoft)
Microsoft's entry in the next generation browser war is ready at last

The browser industry's next generation war has been waging for a couple years now.  Apple released Safari 3 in 2007.  Mozilla released Firefox 3 on June 17, 2008.  Opera released its 9.6 browser on October 8, 2008 and Google launched its Chrome browser on December 11, 2008.  Noticeably absent from these competitors was market leader Microsoft.  It had not released a browser since the introduction of Internet Explorer 7 in 2006 -- a browser whose major feature was the introduction of tabs (along with security improvements).

Last year, Microsoft began to perk attention in the computer community releasing a beta of Internet Explorer 8, which featured innovative browsing modes like InPrivate, which were quickly copied by its competitors.  The beta was followed by the release candidate, which hit the internet in January.  And today those efforts it teased at last year will finally come to fruition when it releases the finalized version of its Internet Explorer 8 around the world at noon. 

Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft says that security is a major focus of the new browser.  Rather than forcing users to rely on antivirus, antimalware, and firewall programs, Microsoft, like its competitors, has been working to build a lot of protection into the browser itself.  States Mr. Ballmer, "Customers have made clear what they want in a Web browser -- safety, speed and greater ease of use.  With Internet Explorer 8, we are delivering a browser that gets people to the information they need, fast, and provides protection that no other browser can match."

Microsoft claims that its browser blocks two to four times the malware of rival next generation browsers.  While such claims are certainly suspect, especially given the added security layer that some browsers like Mozilla get from non-stock add-ons, Internet Explorer 8 is definitely a big step up from the security of Internet Explorer 7. 

Speed, as Mr. Ballmer mentioned, is another key area where IE 8 shines.  Microsoft claims it holds the speed record browsing 15 of the 20 top worldwide sites -- again a rather suspicious claim.  Still, those who have used IE 8 can likely relate that the browser does load JavaScript and pages with heavy CSS content or other advanced formats a lot faster than IE 7 did.  Microsoft brags, "Internet Explorer 8 is one of the fastest browsers on the market today, beating other top browsers in page load time on almost 50 percent of the 25 top comScore Inc. Web sites."

Accelerators and web slices are two key features of the new browser.  Both of these features provide faster access to popular or “favorites” content.  Another big feature is Microsoft's improved Live Search, which includes Visual Search Suggestions -- this rich search provides visuals of the pages being searched and other information.  While some will find it too much information, others will enjoy it, and the feature just may win a bit of search engine market share for Microsoft.

Internet Explorer 8 is available in 25 languages -- Arabic, Chinese (Traditional, Simplified and Hong Kong), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese (Brazil and Portugal), Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish and Turkish.

The final version will be available for download at noon, here.

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No extensions
By blowfish on 3/19/2009 9:17:17 AM , Rating: -1
Well I'll install it just to get faster Windows Updates....

Competition has certainly improved IE, but until other browsers can use extensions, Adblock Plus in particular, there's no way I would use anything but FF as my main browser.

RE: No extensions
By theapparition on 3/19/2009 9:26:52 AM , Rating: 4
Not sure what you mean. I've been using extensions on IE for quite some time. Granted there are not nearly as many as there are for Firefox (which I also use), but even IE7 can use extensions.

RE: No extensions
By quiksilvr on 3/19/2009 2:17:27 PM , Rating: 2
Speed is what I need. Granted the start up time for IE is much faster than Firefox, however once things get running Firefox blazes past it. That and the insane amount of extensions Firefox has pushes it ahead of the pack for me.

RE: No extensions
By Proteusza on 3/19/09, Rating: -1
RE: No extensions
By theapparition on 3/19/2009 9:35:08 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed how?

There already are adblock extensions for IE, and spelling checkers, etc. Just do a quick search and you can find all sorts of IE extensions.

And just for future reference, quoting anything from The Register doesn't help your cause.

RE: No extensions
By Proteusza on 3/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: No extensions
By bhieb on 3/19/2009 12:59:07 PM , Rating: 2
I dont care about anybody's business model, I dont want to see any adverts or have my browsing behaviour tracked. Sorry.

On the surface I would tend to agree, but without ad revenue the web will be a vastly different place. Do you think DT will keep on posting news if there were no revenue from it? There is no such thing as a "free" lunch, and the thousands of "free" pages you have likely enjoyed are possible from the very evil you hate.

I relate it to the DVR, an absolutely astounding consumer device that I for one cannot live without, but I can also see that it will drive content down because of the ability to skip what pays for that content.

RE: No extensions
By killerb255 on 3/19/2009 4:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
Definitely agree with this one.

Let's face it: nobody likes having their enjoyment interrupted by crap like ads and TV commercials. However, that's what pays for what we narcissistic jerks feel that we're entitled to for free...

RE: No extensions
By theapparition on 3/19/2009 4:57:44 PM , Rating: 2

I relate it to the DVR, an absolutely astounding consumer device that I for one cannot live without, but I can also see that it will drive content down because of the ability to skip what pays for that content.

What consumers WILL see in the future is digital programming that blocks the ability to skip commercials. The stage is already set with the Digital Broadcast flags. Once those go into effect, the content producers will control even if we're allowed to record it at all on our DVR. Phillips already introduced technology that prohibits DVRs from skipping commercials.

I'll hate the day that happens, but it's definately coming.

RE: No extensions
By piroroadkill on 3/19/2009 10:06:27 AM , Rating: 2
Haha, The Register is utterly fantastic

RE: No extensions
By Vanilla Thunder on 3/19/2009 9:33:56 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. FF FTW!

RE: No extensions
By Pirks on 3/19/2009 11:15:12 AM , Rating: 2
I'll install it just to get faster Windows Updates
Still using XP? My condolences :P

RE: No extensions
By suryad on 3/19/2009 11:30:56 AM , Rating: 2
Not if you are using XP me...but I dont know what he is using.

RE: No extensions
By TomZ on 3/19/2009 4:11:33 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, WinXP-64 < Vista-64 < Win7-64.

Oh no, did I just agree with Pirks? Someone please shoot me now.

RE: No extensions
By 67STANG on 3/19/2009 4:43:40 PM , Rating: 3
In my opinion, and this is just my experience... having recently upgraded to Vista64 (finally) from XP SP3.

XP-64 < Vista-32 < XP-32 < Vista-64 < Windows7 32/64

RE: No extensions
By Alexvrb on 3/19/2009 5:47:53 PM , Rating: 2
I have had very good luck with XP64, as well. I've had the same OS install for years and its rock solid. Might have something to do with the fact that it is essentially Server 2003 64-bit. The only issue was the initial lack of driver support, but that wasn't Microsoft's fault. WOW64 lets it run almost all 32-bit applications perfectly. The only exceptiona I can think of is security software. Avast and Ghostwall have me covered there, anyway. Shoot, Zonealarm is just now getting their butt into the 64-bit arena.

RE: No extensions
By omnicronx on 3/19/2009 11:40:22 AM , Rating: 2
While I too use FF+Addblock, there are few IE addblock plugins that work almost as well. Its not like they don't exist.

RE: No extensions
By Jjoshua2 on 3/19/09, Rating: 0
RE: No extensions
By omnicronx on 3/19/2009 12:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
IE has extensions (although they are called addons).. just not nearly as many.

You are correct about the IE download though, Jason linked the beta page which still has not changed (and probably wont).

P.S I find that loading too many extensions in FF slows it down (on first boot especially).

RE: No extensions
By GlassHouse69 on 3/19/2009 12:20:34 PM , Rating: 2
opera is more secure and stable than FF

ff has gotten to be its own cesspool

RE: No extensions
By Chocobollz on 3/20/2009 4:38:48 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah I agree, Opera FTW!

RE: No extensions
By madmuffin on 3/23/2009 11:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
Safari (Only on Mac) FF (PC) FTW

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