Microsoft’s latest web browser, Internet Explorer (IE) 8, will be available from noon in the east coast of the US today, and from 5pm in Ireland and the UK, the company has announced.
The new browser can be downloaded in 25 languages at www.microsoft.com/ie8 at 12pm EDT (-5 GMT).
Microsoft stressed that the new browser will chiefly tackle the security concerns of the growing internet public.
A study commissioned by Microsoft and the National Cyber Security Alliance, and conducted by Harris Interactive, revealed 91pc of adults in the US are concerned about online threats in the current economic climate, and 78pc are more likely to choose a web browser with built-in security than they were two years ago.
“Customers have made clear what they want in a web browser — safety, speed and greater ease of use,” said Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft. “With Internet Explorer 8, we are delivering a browser that gets people to the information they need, fast, and provides protection that no other browser can match.”
Microsoft said the security enhancements offer protection against existing and emerging security threats online.
According to the company, IE8 now blocks two to four times more malware attacks than other browsers; cuts down on the time it takes to complete common tasks on the web, such as searching, mapping and sharing, including navigating 15 of the 20 top worldwide sites; and blurs the lines between the services people use daily and the browser used to access the internet.
In addition to offering improved security and privacy protections, Microsoft claims IE 8 is one of the fastest browsers on the market today, beating other top browsers in page-load time on almost 50pc of the 25 top ComScore web sites.
The new browser will have accelerators that perform common online tasks. It will also feature Web Slices, which make favourite information from sites such as Digg and eBay available wherever someone goes on the web.
The browser will come with visual search suggestions in an Instant Search Box that enables rich, real-time search from sites like the New York Times and Wikipedia.
“We are excited about IE 8 for several reasons, including its ability to provide our customers with updates to eBay products using Web Slices, so they can keep track of their buying activity while surfing the web,” said Matt Ackley, vice-president of Internet Marketing and Advertising at eBay.
By John Kennedy
Pictured: a Web Slice on eBay on Internet Explorer 8