Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2: Activities, WebSlices and Security…Oh My!

Often in A Better Windows World, I speak about tools to make our life as IT people… well, better. From time to time it is necessary to recognize that some of those improvements come from tools we already know. In August, Microsoft plans to release the Beta 2 of Internet Explorer 8. I have had the opportunity to test and work with IE8 Beta1 (for Web Developers and Designers), and I must say I am really enjoying myself. Several of IE8's planned new features will help enhance Web browsing.

Activities is a feature that allows you to look up and/or send information from your current page to an external source. For example you can browse the location of your favorite music store and then using Activities you can get directions via a map program. Not that we can’t do this now, however with IE8 will will be able to do this without the copy and paste action.

WebsSlices allow you to add subscriber content to your Links bar in IE8. From the links page you can see a portion of the content and be notified when the content is updated.

Enhancements to the Internet Explorer Administration Kit (IEAK) will allow IT pros to create and manage custom IE builds for their environment. In addition, IE8 will of course support custom builds in Vista and Windows Server 2008.

Security is another big feature update for IE8, domain highlighting help you to identify which sites you’re visiting. This is useful especially for those site names that tend to go on forever leaving you wondering where you are really browsing. IE8 builds on the phishing filter and introduces the SmartScreen Filter. This new filter helps to not only identify phishing web-sites, but also sites that are designed to deliver malware. SmartScreen Filter offers site blocking for sites which may not be blacklisted, but perhaps meet certain dangerous criteria. In these cases, IE8 will ask if you want to proceed first. Active X has been enhanced to install Active X components on a per user and per site basis. Ensuring that the controls are not installed for all users, it also helps to ensure that the control will run only for that site. Data Execution Prevention (DEP) and Cross-Site Scripting filters help deflect attacks on IE8.

I look forward to test-driving Internet Explorer 8 Beta2, I know as well as everyone else that IE has a long way to go to win over Firefox users. These updates are a step in the right direction; of course, Firefox keeps improving as well. Still I like what I see in IE8 Beta 1 and I look forward to what is coming in the next Beta release this August.

Like this and want more? Check out ...Recover My Files: Nothing is lost forever! Microsoft Analyzers Tools - Free help that's worth tryingand the other tools I've written about in A Better Windows World. R- Studio:Nothing is lost forever Part II

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