Microsoft's IE8 has been in beta for quite a bit now, but it's finally available and ready to go. That's right folks, the latest browser from IE8 is live and we popped by their offices to hear what the new browser has to offer for current users and new users alike.
If you've read our previous coverage on the Beta, you'll know that Microsoft has implemented a few new nifty features like Accelerators, Web Slices and the Instant Search Box. There's really a whole lot more that we've covered during the Beta, and we don't really want to bore you to death by repeating previous coverage as nothing much has really changed since then, so feel free to check out our article for a refresh of your memory.
Meanwhile, what we can do however, is to give you an idea on why you should upgrade to IE8 if you're using the older versions. First up is Compatibility View, a mode which the allows IE8 to switch "modes" so to speak, allowing you to view older pages which look broken in IE8. This is because these pages are actually designed for older versions of Internet Explorer, and IE8 is designed to be compatible with the newer sites of today, so the pages may not be displayed properly.
Compatibility View fixes this problem by rendering the page as how the older versions of Internet Explorer would do it, and thus allowing you to view these pages normally and without distortion. You can either turn this on manually (via clicking the button) or the website developer can code it to tell IE8 to switch. You can also easily add sites to a list for maximum compatibility.
Security conscious folks will be pleased to know that IE8 has built-in safeguards against phising: if a known phishing site is visited, it will be flagged and warns the user. If it's not flagged, the browser also has tools to analyze for phishing activity and will warn you anyway with a big red warning screen. Malware and cross-filtering protections are also in place in case you're wondering. Lastly, if you're using Vista or the upcoming Windows 7, the browser will be running in "protected mode", a sandbox mode to prevent hackers from accessing your computer via the browser.
Convinced yet? Even if you're not but find yourself still using an older version of IE, it's probably a good idea to upgrade to the latest version. And if you're using another browser, well, IE8 offers plenty of stuff this time around, and you may find yourself surprised.
Update - IE8 will be released at 0000H (+8GMT) on Friday, 20 March 2009. Download location here: http://www.microsoft.com/ie8