Microsoftis Internet Explorer 8, beta 2, is much easier to use, has a host of security, stability, and privacy features, and shows that Microsoft is serious about playing catch-up, according to ars technica on Thursday.
The author pointed out that beta 1 had a lot of rough edges and was hard to use for an extended period. However, he was impressed with beta 2.
In a guided tour of his testing experience, with a wealth of sceen shots, Mr. Bright works his way through launch, customization, tabs, Firefox-like address bar, search, private browsing mode, and adherence to HTML standards. IE8 has the ability to switch between the older IE7 "fake" standards and real standards. As a testament to that, or perhaps a disappointment, some of Microsoftis own Web pages break in the more standards compliant IE8.
"IE8 has me surprised. Internet Explorer has fallen a long way behind Safari, Opera, and Firefox," Mr. Bright concluded. "IE7 brought the much-needed tabs, but was still a long way behind the competing browsers. And honestly, even IE8 hasnit caught up with the competition. But itis a great deal closer than I thought it would be. The standards compliance is certainly still a big issue, and the reality is that IE8 still wonit be nearly as good on that front as the other three major browsers. Nonetheless, as an overall package, IE8 is a far better product than its predecessor.
"After using beta 2, I am now confident that Microsoft actually cares about creating a good web browser, and I havenit felt that way since the days of the browser war. My only worry now is that MS will once again lose interest in its browser; I hope not."
This is all very good news for Macintosh users who run XP or Vista in virtualization or Boot Camp and have hesitated to use IE7 in the past for its poor security and standards performance.