Internet Explorer 8 Offers Improved Privacy and Security

Internet Explorer has recently been losing market share to upstarts like Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, and Google's Chrome beta, but Microsoft hopes to reverse the tide with Internet Explorer 8, which is due out this summer. My conclusion after a close examination of the four browsers: As matters stand, IE 8 seems likely

By Rob Vamosi
Wed, February 11, 2009

PC WorldInternet Explorer has recently been losing market share to upstarts like Mozilla's Firefox, Apple's Safari, and Google's Chrome beta, but Microsoft hopes to reverse the tide with Internet Explorer 8, which is due out this summer. My conclusion after a close examination of the four browsers: As matters stand, IE 8 seems likely to be the easiest to deploy and maintain over a large or small network.

In addition, IE 8's capabilities will either match or exceed those of the other browsers. Here's a comparative look at some of the key features to be included in IE 8, and a discussion of why companies may be better off using IE 8 than one of the other browsers.

Easy to Deploy

IE 8 appears to be especially well suited for companies that want to adopt a browser across large network. In particular, Microsoft has equipped IE 8 with built-in deployment features, based on the company's existing deployment and update platforms. In contrast, Mozilla relies on third-party Firefox client customization add-ons such as FrontMotion Firefox MSI, CCK Wizard, or FirefoxADM; and Safari and Chrome don't as yet offer network-wide client customization deployment options at all.

Microsoft has been hyping IE 8's ability to switch automatically to IE 7 compatibility mode when necessary. But that's because IE versions 7 and earlier often didn't follow Web standards, and this failure to conform forced Web developers to code their pages differently in order to render on IE. Once deployed across a network, IE 8 won't break corporate intranet: Internal or intranet Web sites will automatically default to IE 7 compatibility so that businesses won't have to rewrite their inward-facing corporate pages. Similarly, Web surfing or external browsing in IE 8 will default to the new "standards mode" as well. Since Firefox, Chrome, and Safari have more or less conformed to Web standards over the years, they don't require this compatibility mode.

Taking a page from Google Chrome, IE 8 will offer built-in tab crash protection. In the event of a page fault, only the affected tab and not the entire browser will crash. The current versions of Firefox and Safari lack this isolation feature. Firefox will, however, restore the entire browser session after a browser crash; a similar feature in Safari called 'Reopen All Windows from Last Session' lets you restore previous browser windows whether or not the session ended with a crash.

Better Productivity

Though Microsoft took its time before embracing tabbed browsing, IE 8 is set to make significant strides in this area. As links on a page open new tabs, color-coded related tabs appear alongside the original. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari do not offer this capability. On the other hand, Chrome, Safari, and Firefox 3.1 can pull a tab out of the browser and create a new, stand-alone browser session; IE 8 won't be able to do this. IE 8 will offer some nice features within a tab, though: When you open a new tab, the browser will give you the option to reopen a closed tab or to restore your previous browsing session, among other choices.

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