Microsoft will make the next version of its browser, Internet Explorer 8, available as from 4PM this afternoon as the company finally embarks in its own long march.
The newly released application will feature improved privacy modes via InPrivate Browsing, much better performance, new security enhancements, beefed-up searching, tab grouping, page zoom and enhanced web design standard compliance.
One of the most quoted features of the new Internet Explorer 8 is the accelerator which in a nutshell proposes a number of options to the user like defining a word, searching with Facebook or blogging on Windows Live space.
There's also the WebSlices functionality which is a much improved version of Microsoft's 1998 push technology and has already been described by some as "'RSS with bells on".
Internet Explorer 8 is the first in a series of major releases from Microsoft that will also see Windows 7, Windows 7 Mobile and Microsoft Office 14 formally released or appear in beta.
The browser will be released simultaneously in a number of territories in 25 languages and is set to take on its rivals like Firefox, Opera, Chrome and Safari as the competition heats up.
Microsoft holds around 75 percent of the global browser market share and has attracted unwanted attention not only from criminals - who want to exploit a number of vulnerabilities within the application - but also from the European Commission which considers that Microsoft has benefited from an unwarranted advantage over its smaller competitors in the browsing market.
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The biggest issue we have with Internet Explorer (and many other browsers) has to do with memory management. The Release Candidate version of Internet Explorer 8 managed to gobble up to 1GB (yes 1GB) worth of memory on our Core 2 Duo CPU with 2GB memory and Windows XP Pro. This effectively brings the PC to a halt and reminds us of how good Google Chrome is.