The Internet is like a living thing, in that it grows and changes. Our methods of interfacing with it, concurrently, must also evolve. Our ancestors tracked down their meals with tools and weapons made of flint, and while those methods might still work today, there are many other more efficient ways to secure sustenance, like using a car to go to the local supermarket. As servers have grown more adept at handling traffic, more media forms have found their way online and Internet-based content has expanded beyond mere information and business promotion, so too must our ways of accessing it change. Microsoft has provided these updates, along with those to its Windows series of operating systems, in the last two iterations of its browser, Internet Explorer.
Internet Explorer 7, introduced in 2006, was the first major overhaul of the browser Microsoft had released in over five years. Half a decade is a very long time in the realm of internet technologies, a place where the next great solution seems just around the corner even as the last iteration has been perfected and becomes available at a reasonable price. Other browsers available for free and on other computing platforms had implemented innovations such as tabbed browsing, page zooming and stronger encryption before Internet Explorer 7 was released. Not only did Microsoft’s new browser incorporate these features, it also included an integrated search box, a feed reader, better internationalization and improved support for web standards. 1
Just last year, Microsoft again revamped their native browser with Internet Explorer 8. When Microsoft began to discuss this update with the public, they indicated security, ease of use and improvements in RSS, Cascading Style Sheets and Ajax support were its priorities.2 While visually similar to Microsoft’s previous iteration, Internet Explorer 8 is packed with new features, including Accelerators, which allow users to search, blog or share via social media content found on the Internet. By simply right-clicking on a link or highlighted bit of text, Internet Explorer guides the user on the various means of utilizing online services available via Accelerators.3 Also included in Internet Explorer 8, along with being a more stable browser overall, are developer tools, a new privacy mode and the Web Slices feature.4 Visitors to Microsoft’s website can find more information on Internet Explorer 8 as well as instructions on how to download the browser to their system.5
With these continued changes and improvements on the Internet Explorer browser, in addition to the other alternatives available, older versions of the browser have fallen by the wayside. Neither Microsoft nor IQnection support Internet Explorer 6 any longer. Like the stone spear, the browsers of yesteryear have become little more than museum pieces. New, improved browsers are available to all visitors of websites, and those unfamiliar with new technologies need not be daunted with the thoughts of upgrading. Ensuring your browsers are up to date and thus guaranteeing a smoother, more enjoyable browsing experience, is easy, rapid and best of all, free! Visit Microsoft’s website or use the keyword ‘browser’ in Google or your favorite search engine for more information.