Internet Explorer 8.0: searching

IE 8 can use multiple search engines besides Windows Live Search, and you can add other search engines to the mix. Also, Internet Explorer 8.0 will give you search suggestions as you type. For example, we can type in 'PC Advisor' into the search field, and IE 8 RC1 will give us Live Search suggestions such as 'pc advisor magazine' or 'pc advisor reviews'.

In addition, IE 8 lets you switch between search engines on the fly by clicking an icon at the bottom of the search field's drop-down menu. IE 8 can search Yahoo and Ask.com, and you can install add-ins that give IE 8 the capability to search Wikipedia, Amazon, and the New York Times, among other sites.

Internet Explorer 8.0 search

Internet Explorer 8.0 search

Internet Explorer 8.0: improved security

Microsoft touts IE 8 as its most secure browser to date, and Microsoft has indeed added a good number of security features to the mix, ranging from phishing detection to private browsing, plus a new feature to prevent clickjacking, an emerging data theft threat.

Internet Explorer 8.0 RC1 includes two security features under the 'InPrivate' label: InPrivate Browsing and InPrivate Filtering. Both existed in earlier prerelease versions of IE 8, but IE 8 RC1 lets you use the two features separately, whereas before each relied on the other.

If you enable Internet Explorer 8.0's InPrivate Browsing feature, the browser will not save any sensitive data - passwords, log-in info, history, and the like. Afterward it will be as if your browsing session had never happened. This feature is very similar to Private Browsing in Apple's Safari browser, except that an icon in IE's address bar makes InPrivate Browsing's active status more obvious.

InPrivate Filtering - called InPrivate Blocking in earlier IE 8 builds - prevents sites from being able to collect information about other websites you visit. This feature existed in IE 8 Beta 2, but you could use it only while using InPrivate Browsing. In RC1, you can use InPrivate Browsing at any time.

The browser's phishing filter - called SmartScreen - improves on its predecessor's filter with such features as more-thorough scrutiny of a web page's address (to protect you from sites named something like paypal.iamascammer.com) and a full-window warning when you stumble upon a suspected phishing site. SmartScreen relies largely on a database of known phishing sites, so new, unknown phishing sites may slip through the cracks.

Internet Explorer 8.0 displays sites' domains in a darker text colour, so you can more readily see whether you're visiting a genuine ebay.com page, say, or a page simulating an eBay page on some site you've never heard of. Microsoft could still put a little more emphasis on the domain name (using a different colour background, for example), but the highlighting is a welcome addition.

Finally, IE 8 RC1 includes a feature designed to prevent clickjacking, a method in which web developers insert a snippet of HTML code into their web page code to steal information from web page visitors. When you use Internet Explorer 8.0 to view such a page, IE 8 can identify an attempted clickjacking and will warn you of the attempt.