Today we’re excited to release the final build of Internet Explorer 8 in 25 languages. IE8 makes what real people do on the web every day faster, easier, and safer. Anyone running Windows Vista, Windows XP, and Windows Server can get 32- and 64-bit versions now from http://www.microsoft.com/ie8. (Windows 7 users will receive an updated IE8 as part of the next Windows 7 milestone.)
We’ve blogged a lot here about what’s in IE8. Stepping back from individual features, Internet Explorer is focused on how real people use the Web. We designed the product experience based on real-world data from tens of millions of user sessions. We worked closely with developers and standards groups to deliver a far better platform for the people who build the web. We cooperated closely with the security community to address the real threats that users face on the web, and keep users in control of their browsing and information. The resulting product takes a “batteries included,” just works out of the box approach to delivering the next browser for how hundreds of millions of people really use the web. We think it will surprise people who haven’t looked closely at IE in a while. Perhaps it’s time to re-think conventional wisdom about IE.
Today at the MIX conference, we showed IE8’s technology and design in the context of what real people do all the time on the web:
- Get where you want to go faster with real world performance. The core activity in the browser is navigating to a website. IE8 makes that faster and easier with its new address bar, new tab experience, favorites bar, and history in search box. IE8 is faster than IE7, and favorable to today’s other browsers on today’s common sites. Script benchmarks measure script; overall browser performance involves many different factors. Looking at a slow motion video of today’s common web sites in the latest browsers, IE is often the fastest at real world sites. Unlike some other browsers, IE isolates misbehaving sites so that only that tab, not the entire browser, crashes.
- Use more of the web, easier. With IE8, people can get what they want out of web pages, often with just one-click, in the flow of their regular browsing. Webslices make it easy to stay up to date on the latest information from a web page (like weather, traffic, or status updates). Accelerators make it easy to act on the current page (mapping, sending, sharing, etc.) using another web service without the tedious work of “copy, new tab, navigate, paste.” Visual search results and Quick Pick make it easy to get the search results users want from the search services users choose. Users are in control of how they use services with these their with these secure, reliable, and consistent extensions.
- Stay safer from real world threats: IE8 has built-in protections to keep users safe from real threats. These defenses are easy to understand and use, from highlighting the current site’s domain in the address bar to the clear indicator when IE is browsing “InPrivate.” IE provides protection from today’s dangers, like malicious software downloads, as well as tomorrow’s, like cross-site scripting attacks. IE is the only browser that, out of the box, enables sites to protect their customers from clickjacking attacks.
- Build on real world interoperability, standards, and compatibility. IE8 shows Microsoft’s commitment to an open and interoperable web. IE8 by default shows web pages in its most standards compliant mode. With IE8, we’re delivering the most complete and correct implementation of CSS 2.1 available in any browser. To improve interoperability not just for IE but for all browsers, we’ve contributed over 7,000 test cases to the W3C (and taken feedback along the way). This will make it easier for the people who build the web to develop with standards. We’ve started delivering on HTML5. We’ve also made the specifications for webslices, accelerators, and visual search available to the community (under the appropriate open licenses) for a more open, interoperable, and rich web. IE creates great opportunities for developers and sites to integrate themselves into their users workflow and make their experience stand out.
We respect the practical realities of web development. We are actively engaging site developers and have built strong developer tools into the product to help them. Many site developers have not yet had the time to adjust to IE’s new behavior. To make sure the web continues to work for the people who use these sites with IE, consumers have a “Compatibility View” button and access to a community-driven compatibility view list.
First, as a team we want to thank everyone who used our pre-release software and provided feedback. You helped us deliver IE8.
Our next steps start with listening. We’re going to listen for customer and security issues and respond appropriately. We’re going to engage with web sites and developers on compatibility. We’re going to finish Windows 7. We’re going to work with standards bodies to finish CSS 2.1 and bring other standards to a customer-ready state faster. We’re going to stand behind this product and service and secure it for many years. We’re going listen to your feedback while we start work on the next version of IE.
The more important part happens outside of the IE team as people start using IE8. We’re excited to see how developers take advantage of it, from slices, accelerators, and visual search results that people can extend IE with to richer, safer websites that they’ll use every day.
P.S. The following table offers summarizes much of what we’ve blogged about here; please see http://www.microsoft.com/ie8 for a more complete list that includes our work on accessibility, manageability and deployment, and more:
Faster and easier for how people really browse the web every day
Address bar. Searches across your history and favorites
Search box. Visual Search suggestions, Quick Pick, search results from your browsing history.
Accelerators. Immediate in-page access to the services of your choice.
Tab grouping and coloring. Automatic tab organization and easier to multitask.
“New Tab” experience. Easy access to your last browsing session or closed tabs.
Favorites Bar. One click to add a favorite to the bar; and once click access to favorites, web slices, and feeds.
Real world Performance. Top sites load fast on IE8.
Find bar. Easily find and highlight text on the current web page.
Suggested Sites. Discover more sites on the web that are similar to the sites you already enjoy.
Toolbar close box. Easy to enable or disable toolbars
Add-on load time. See and control which add ons affect IE performance.
Safer, protecting real people from the real threats on the web
Malware protection. Prevents installation of malicious software
Cross-site Scripting Filter. Protection from web site attacks.
Tab isolation and Automatic Crash Recovery. Keep browsing even if a site or control crashes.
Domain highlighting in the address bar. Easy to see what site you’re really on.
InPrivate Browsing. Protection — never saves your browsing history.
InPrivate Filtering. Avoid third-party web tracking
Delete items from the Address bar. More over the shoulder privacy.
Search settings protection. Your search provider is always your choice.
Clickjacking protection. Protection from a class of exploits involving mouse click redirection tricks
Per User/Site ActiveX. Additional protection from repurposed ActiveX controls.
DEP/NX. Protection from a class of memory exploits
Opportunities and Interoperability for the people who build the web