Six months after Beta 1 hit the streets, Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 to brave testers. The new beta includes features that make it look like a viable choice of modern browser, like a smart address bar (sound familiar?), tab grouping, private browsing, find in-page, suggested sites related to the current page, and more. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out of Redmond in the browser arena.
IE8 Beta 2’s Most Useful Features
Smart Address Bar: IE 8 beta 2 includes a Smart Address Bar, that, like Firefox 3’s “AwesomeBar,” drops down suggestions as-you-type a web site URL gleaned from your favorites, feeds, and history. Unlike Firefox, IE 8 includes headers so you can see where each suggestion comes from.
Tab Grouping: Ever open a bunch of links from a single page in new tabs, and then lose track of which tabs came from what page? IE8’s got a nifty “tab grouping” feature that colors your tabs based on their source. Here’s what a few tab groups—one from Lifehacker, one from the MSN homepage—look like.
InPrivate Browsing: What with the Smart Address Bar pulling up every site you’ve visited recently in plain view in its History suggestions, there may be times when you visit a site and have the browser forget it ever happened. IE 8 beta 2’s “InPrivate” browsing mode adds an icon to the address bar, and forgets you were ever at a web page when it’s enabled.