Microsoft has certainly been busy in the last couple of weeks what with the launch of a beta test version of Windows and, now, Internet Explorer 8.
I mentioned the launch of Windows 7 a couple of weeks ago and I reported that it was available for download from the Internet. It seems as though the download has been greeted with much enthusiasm and accordingly, Microsoft has extended the download deadline to February 10.
Internet Explorer 8 had also been out in beta for quite some time but last week, Microsoft announced the launch of what they call Release Candidate One, which is a step forward from the beta and considered to be stable and contain all the features that the final release product will.
You can download the new version of IE8 by going to the www.microsoft.com website where you’ll find a link on the front page to the main Internet Explorer page. It’s pretty easy to download and, at 16.2 Mb in size, it doesn’t take a tragically long time to download.
I had Internet Explorer 6 and was interested to get a look at version 8 which looks quite a lot different, with a cleaner and more uncluttered user interface. That said, there is nothing that users of other modern browsers, such as Google Chrome and Firefox, would find radically different.
Chrome and Firefox have broken the ground in browser features and there is not all that much in IE that is strikingly new on the features front. One thing it does have is a feature called Web Slices is which allows you to select a part a part of a web page, called a slice, and put that on a toolbar at the top of your screen.
Every so often, and you decide how often, IE8 will go and check to see if the information on that page has been updated, and if it has, it will let you know. Apart from this, it’s got a feature called Accelerators which allow you access to online services so that, for example, you could select some text on a web page, and click an Accelerator to transfer that text to your blog, an e-mail package, or whatever.
One of the new features is puzzling is Compatibility View which allows you to view web sites which were created for ‘older browsers’. I personally can’t see the point and wonder why they wanted to make a big thing about something that other browsers do as a matter of course.
IE8 does have a nice clean interface and, so far, has proved pretty stable and has managed to display any page that I wanted to view with it. It doesn’t offer me any advantages over Firefox so I won’t adopt it but, for Internet Explorer users, I think it would be a beneficial upgrade.
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