Internet Explorer 8 - A Firefox Killer?

Will IE 8 be a FireFox 3 killer? With Beta 2 of IE8 being release late August it makes you wonder if Microsoft has learned their lesson and added the basic features that makes other web browsers like Opera and Firefox 3 and recently Google Chrome more attractive.

Currently in Beta 2, IE 8 is noticeably faster, leaner and more intuitive to use. Watch PCWizKid's Video Review of IE 8 Beta 2 with comparison to Firefox 3.0.3.

First look of the latest Beta of IE 8 shows:

- The address bar now highlights just the domain in the URL decreasing your risk from domain phishing attacks by accidentally clicking links which are fake and malicious. This smart search has been around in other browsers like Firefox and Google Chrome and is a great addition to IE 8.

- The search box now sports the ability to display an icon for the search provider you have currently selected. You can add more providers and customize which is the default one.

- The Bookmarking interface has been improved as well as access to all your other bookmarks are available from the “Favorites” button on the left side.

For one, IE 8 compared to IE 7 has better :
  • WC3 standards adherence and compatibility for viewing websites
    “IE8 has been significantly enhanced, and was designed with great support for current Internet standards. This is evidenced by the fact that even in its first beta, IE8 correctly renders the popular test known as ‘Acid2,’ which was created by the Web community to promote real-world interoperability,” said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect. “Our initial plan had been to use IE7-compatible behavior as the default setting for IE8, to minimize potential impact on the world’s existing Web sites. We have now decided to make our most current standards-based mode the default in IE8.
  • Automatic Crash Recovery
  • Undo close tab
  • Saving and restoring sessions
  • Accelerators
  • WebSlices
  • Favorites Bar
  • Group Tabing
  • InPrivate browsing
  • Improved Phishing Filter

    Most anticipated new features

    The most obvious new features are InPrivate Browsing, Accelerators and WebSlices. These give you context sensitive options for looking up data (maps, search and so on), or doing stuff with it (emailing it, sharing on Facebook), rather like IE6's abandoned Smart Tags, and the latter are Sidebar Gadget-style clippings that let you view web content without actually visiting the website.

    Performance and Standards

    IE8 beta so far is faster. Microsoft says key systems including the HTML parser, CSS processing, JavaScript parsing and memory management are speedier than before, but it's still tweaking performance. Opening my channel was very fast the first time (without being cached). One thing for sure IE 8 Beta 2 uses more memory than Firefox 3 at the moment.

    The Phishing Filter is back, but this time it's supplemented with Domain Highlighting – a Firefox-style feature that makes it clear whether the site you're visiting is the site you think you're visiting.

    • The SmartScreen filtering, a replacement for the Phishing Filter offers a better interface, quicker performance and better analysis of unknown websites. It will also check servers to see if they're areas to avoid, so if you click on a potentially unsafe link in a chat window IE8 will pop up a warning message telling you about it.


    In addition to these changes, IE8 will make ActiveX controls site specific, they will include protection against cross domain and cross site exploits and its Data Execution Prevention system will stop certain kinds of code from writing data to the system memory. When IE8 crashes you should be able to resume your last session when you restart the browser just like Firefox 3 does today.

    Last but definitely not least, IE8 will be CSS 2.1 compliant and run in standards mode by default. There's also an Emulate IE7 option for when you encounter sites designed specifically for IE7, and a Quirks mode for IE5 emulation. Developers also get a Developer Toolbar for easy HTML, CSS and JavaScript debugging.

    Details on these initial features from Microsoft IE8 feature list are here

Interested in Seeing what Firefox 3 has to offer? Watch my review