IE 8 Beta 2 – Two Thumbs Up!

Microsoft recently released Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 for public download. I'm currently using it and must say that I'm very impressed. Aside from numerous security improvements and increased performance there are also a slew of cool features that have been implemented in the new browser. Here are just a few:

Web Accelerators:

Web Accelerators are shortcuts to on-line services that are often used. For example, if you're constantly checking word definitions, you can use an accelerator for Wikipedia or Dictionary.com that will enable you to highlight a word on a webpage and find it's meaning with just two clicks. Whenever you highlight a word with your mouse, you are presented with a cool blue arrow icon that once clicked, will give you options for your selected text (see screenshot below). Install as many accelerators as you wish, they can be easily managed or removed altogether.

IE 8 Web Accelerator

Tab Grouping:

It is now extremely simple to keep track of what sites belong together. Links that are opened from a particular page will all have the same color tab. Additionally, you'll have many useful options when right-clicking any of the tabs.

colored tabs in Internet Explorer 8

Automatic Crash Recovery:

If you are like me and love to browse with many tabs open at the same time, this new feature will make you very happy. Crashes are confined so that if Internet Explorer crashes, only that particular tab crashes. The tab that crashed is then reloaded so that you'll be on the page you were viewing before the crash.

Compatibility View:

Because Internet Explorer uses updated Website rendering, some websites may look strange or may warn you that you are using an unsupported browser. For these websites that don't work properly, there is compatibility view. To activate Compatibility View for a website, just click the little broken page icon at the end of your address bar.

Compatibility View in IE 8

I've mentioned only a few of the great new features in Internet Explorer 8. To read about all the juicy details or to download Internet Explorer and try it out for yourself, you can go to the Internet Explorer Home Page. If you install it and decide not to keep it, you can easily revert back to a previous version by uninstalling Internet Explorer 8 via Windows Add and Remove.

Tips:

  1. The first time Internet Explorer is started after installation, you will be greeted by a setup wizard that will ask you, among other things, if you'd like to enable Suggested Sites. If activated, Internet Explorer will use your browsing history to suggest other sites you might enjoy viewing. I find no use for that feature, therefore I checked NO so that it would remain disabled. If you change your mind later on, adjust the Suggested Sites setting in your Internet Explorer Tools menu.
  2. To find more accelerators for you new installation of Internet Explorer visit the IE Accelerator Gallery.

Note: Beta software is used for testing before final release and can sometimes have bugs or instability. However, this beta version of Internet Explorer has been very stable on all four of our PCs at home and has caused no problems whatsoever. I highly recommend it.