January 27, 2009

Microsoft Pushes New Features With Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft Corp. is boasting the release of Internet Explorer 8 as "faster, easier and safer than ever."

The release of IE 8 comes in the midst of a Microsoft's browser battle with rivals Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome.

"We have made IE 8 the best browser for the way people really do use the web," said Microsoft's Amy Barzdukas.

"Microsoft needs to say these things because it continues to lose market share to Firefox, Chrome and Safari," Gartner analyst Neil MacDonald told BBC News.

"At the end of last year, data from Net Applications showed the software giant's market share dropped below 70 percent for the first time in eight years to 68 percent," the news agency said.

"Meanwhile Mozilla broke the 20 percent barrier for the first time in its history with 21% of users using its browser Firefox."

With the release of Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft introduced new features called "Accelerators," which try to reduce the number of mouse clicks needed to perform simple routine tasks online.

Accelerators allows users to highlight text from a Web site and click the Accelerator icon, which brings up a menu allowing users to choose what they want to do with the selected text "“ get driving directions, translate or define a word, or e-mail to a co-worker. Users also have the option of finding and adding more Accelerators from Microsoft's gallery.

Microsoft says IE 8 is the fastest browser it has released to date, with faster page load times and a significantly faster script engine than in previous versions, "minimizing the load time for webpages based on JavaScript or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)," the Web site reads.

Microsoft also added new features to its "favorites" category such as "one-click favorites," RSS feeds on links bar, and Browsing History view, and a History searching feature that allows users to search for pages in history by typing keywords.

"What we are seeing for many consumers in particular is that their computing experience is a browsing experience," said Barzdukas.

"The role of the browser has become more and more important. Our focus is on delivering the best experience possible and one that is faster, easier and more secure."

The new browser has new enhanced security features such as "InPrivate browsing," which was developed to allow users to prevent browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, and usernames and passwords from being retained by the browser when browsing in public places.

The beta version of IE 8 was released in March 2008. The new browser was made publicly available as of Monday afternoon.


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