Internet Explorer 8: Worth an Upgrade?

July 14, 2009 at 3:07 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , , , )

Internet Explorer is known for its majority claim on the Internet browser market share and it’s close ties to the Windows operating system. Microsoft continue to flourish and says their new browser is worthwhile and better than ever! Here are a few ways IE8 exceeds it’s previous version.

One unique feature of IE8 is the accelerators. These tools save further browsing time by turning popular searches into a simple right-click function. For example, you can highlight an address, right click on it, and choose the “Bing Maps” feature (similar to Google Maps, or Mapquest). Another smaller window slides out with a small map showing the location of that address and a link to get to directions. This saves you the time you would spend opening a new window and copy/pasting the address on a mapping website.

You can see search results on popular sites such as Google, Dictionary.com, and Wikipedia. First, highlight a keyword(s) on the web site you are viewing, like “Tiramisu” for example, and right click. Choose the accelerator of your choice to see a mini page with Tiramisu search results on Google, or the dictionary or Wikipedia entry at a glance (Tiramisu is, by the way, a delectable Italian dessert!). There are a variety of accelerators available that may interest you, some using Microsoft sites like Bing and MSN, and others using popular sites, including YouTube and Facebook.

Web slices are another new IE8 feature that is available for select webpages (indicated by the green web slice icon at the top of the page). Web slices allows you to see a small “slice” of the pages you want to check regularly, without searching for or loading the webpage.

For example, if you are bidding on an Ebay item, you can add a slice for that particular item (instead of the whole webpage) to your new favorites bar at the top of the page. When the slice has new information, like another person bidding on your item, the slice title become bold. You can click on the slice to see a mini page with your item, increase the bid, or read the new information, etc. Other slices available show news, stocks, weather, sports, etc. The new favorites bar displays your slices along the top of the screen similar to tabs for easy access.

IE8 has some feature with which you may be familiar. Similar to Google Chrome, IE8 has “tab isolation” that prevents the whole browser window from crashing if one tab malfunctioning and “In-private browsing” that allows you to surf without saving history and files to your computer. Like Firefox, if your browser window closes unexpectedly, you can restore all your tabs to the previous session. Like the Google toolbar feature, you can restore recently closed tabs into the same window if you accidentally close a tab.

Internet Explorer 8 also is equipped with newer technology that promises more security and speed. To read more about the security features, check out microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer. Whether it is really faster than other browsers is up for debate, depending on how testing is done and what pages are tested. The best way to know if it works better is to try it out for yourself. Based on your Internet services connection speed and surfing habits, you may be able to load pages faster with Internet Explorer 8. Keep in mind that it is good practice to back up your files and create a restore point before you install IE8. If you do decide to download IE8, check out browserforthebetter.com if you want your download to help feed the hungry.

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