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I.E 8 plays spot-the-difference with Firefox 3

Alex Christie

29 August 2008

The race between Firefox and Internet Explorer reminds me of the Olympics. As some nations steam ahead, others can only trail in their wake. The 2nd beta of IE8 has just been released, and as they boast about its colour tabs, ability to load tabs you accidently closed, its ‘increased compatibility with website standards’ (I’ll believe *that* when I see it), and its ‘smart address bar’ … It makes me sit here and think I’ve seen this all before. That is because I have.

It seems a very long time ago that I used a version of Firefox where I haven’t been able to re-open a tab when I closed the browser.. and as for their proclaimed ‘smart address bar’ , Mozilla has even given theirs a much better name.. The ‘Awesome bar’, and this has been fully developed through Firefox 3. In terms of Search this is a huge improvement on IE7. This allows the user to find things on sites such as Ebay but in a real-time kind of way. The results that drop down from the address bar are current biddable items and sites you visit that contain blogs will show you the most recent ones etc.

The colour tabs seem like a useful additional feature. It colour co-ordinates your tabs, so you can recognise very easily tabs that are part of the same website. Although to be perfectly honest, if you’re looking at a site, how many different pages will you be looking at in one go? If you have the ‘wiki-fever’ as most internet surfers do, you will continue to click along paths within one page, thus making this colour tab feature a bit hit-and-miss in the ‘useful’ category.

One thing that might make a few of us raise an inquisitive eyebrow, is the ability to put your browser into inPrivate mode… This just means any activity within your browser isn’t recorded in cookies or history. Unfortunately, again, Apple’s Safari browser already does this too.

So come on Microsoft, come up with something original and shock us all!

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