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Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2

Microsoft's August 2008 beta release of Internet Explorer 8 is packed with new features that have an impact on just about every aspect of your browsing experience. This screenshot gallery provides the details you need to know
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1 of 14 Ed Bott/ZDNet
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By Ed Bott
It's been nearly two years since Microsoft released its last major update to Internet Explorer. With the release of a feature-complete Beta 2 of IE8, the reason for the long gestation period is obvious. This is a top-to-bottom makeover of Microsoft's flagship web browser, with dozens of new usability and security features and a newfound adherence to web standards. In this gallery, I introduce the highlights of IE8 in action.In this overview screen you can see color-coded tab groupss, links to previously closed tabs, improvements to the search box in the top right corner, and the new inline search feature. But there's much more.
For a more detailed discussion of Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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When you start typing in the IE8 Address bar, a drop-down list suggests destinations you might want to visit. The big improvement over the Firefox 3 Awesome Bar is that the results are categorized and grouped, allowing you to see Autocomplete suggestions as wells as entries from your Favorites folder and your browsing history. Coolest feature of all? If you inadvertently mistype an address, you can click a red X to delete it permanently from the history or suggestion list.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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IE8 adds tabbed browsing features that previously required third-party add-ins, including the ability to duplicate a tab or reopen a closed tab. Unique to IE8 is the concept of tab groups, which use color codes to identify tabs opened from a common page.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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A buggy add-in or poorly written web page can crash the browser, potentially taking every other tab with it. IE8 builds in crash recovery tools and keeps track of pages from the current and previous session. In my testing, I found that the Tab Isolation feature works well; in most cases a crashed page only takes down the current tab, leaving other open tabs untouched.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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Accelerators are the IE8 term for browser add-ins that can be installed and made available directly from a web page. The default selection includes an extensive array of options, including several from Microsoft arch-rival Google and other third parties like Yahoo, eBay, and Yahoo.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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Any Accelerators you've set up are available for use with any selected text. In the web-page snippet at the top of this page, the Accelerator menu indicator is visible because I've highlighted the phrase Miami-Dade County. Clicking that indicator takes me to a menu where I can choose from any available action; in this example, I'm about to send the selection to Google Maps, which will open in a new browser tab.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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7 of 14 Ed Bott/ZDNet
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If you'd prefer to leave no traces of your current browsing session, turn on InPrivate browsing. The new session opens in a separate window, with an indicator at the left of the address bar as shown here. When you close that window, all cookies, cached files, and form data are wiped out completely.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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Inline search has been one of the most glaring omissions in IE for its entire life. It's implemented in IE8 with the features you'd expect, including highlights that can be toggled on or off and an indicator of the number of hits for the current search term.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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9 of 14 Ed Bott/ZDNet
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The search box in the top right corner of the IE8 window has some nifty improvements. As shown at the top, it shows history items that match the search term, and also allows you to switch to a different search provider by clicking an icon. For sites that support the new Visual Search feature (such as Wikipedia and Amazon, shown here), a drop-down list of search results allows you to skip the list of search results completely and go straight to the desired page.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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With a few lines of code, a website developer can turn a module on a page into a "Web slice." In the example at the top here, I've clicked the Web slice indicator for a local weather report from Live Search. Clicking the associated link on the new Favorites bar displays the contents of that slice without having to load a full web page or even leave the current page.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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The new add-on management console provides one-stop access to toolbars, ActiveX controls, plugins, and Accelerators. You can easily rearrange groups and set non-Microsoft controls as the default for particular actions, as I've done here with Google's Blogger and Google Maps tools.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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12 of 14 Ed Bott/ZDNet
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IE8's new adherence to web standards means that many sites coded for earlier IE versions will render improperly in the new browser. A compatibility button on the Address bar allows you to switch to compatibility mode for all pages on that domain. Unlike earlier betas, you don't have to restart the browser to switch compatibility mode on or off.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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13 of 14 Ed Bott/ZDNet
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The Developer Tools option on the Tools menu (also available via the F12 keyboard shortcut) pulls up this remarkably detailed console for examining, tweaking, and debugging source code, CSS style sheets, and script on any web page.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.
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IE8's phishing filter gets a new name, SmartScreen Filter, and a blood-red border that makes it difficult to ignore a potentially dangerous site. The protection extends to downloaded files as well; any download attempt from a site flagged as unsafe will be blocked in equally emphatic style.
For a more detailed discussion of this and other features in Internet Explorer Beta 2, see Internet Explorer 8 gets a massive makeover.

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