By Emmanuel Onyeje
Country Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa The Web is a very different place compared to its humble beginnings in 1989. Over the last 20 years, the Internet has become accessible on everything from a computer to a wristwatch and the amount of information, entertainment and multimedia available online has taken on staggering proportions.
Internet users today have the good fortune to be spoiled for choice when it comes to browsers â€“ though not all are created equal. Some browsers are faster, some are more secure, some are more reliable, some are easier to use.
If you choose Internet Explorer 8 to browse the Web, you can be sure of the most important things when youâ€™re online:
Itâ€™s familiar: The Blue â€œeâ€ that stands for Internet Explorer is your gateway to the world. Itâ€™s the starting point for people around the world to do more of what they want online â€“ to search, shop, surf, email, bank and connect with others. Itâ€™s fast, familiar, easy and safe.
Itâ€™s personal: You can create your own version of Internet Explorer 8 with an ever-increasing collection of add-ons. You can keep up to date on what matters most to you more easily than ever before. For instance, new Internet Explorer 8 accelerators and web slices mean you donâ€™t need to open up a new browser window to find the information you care about. Driving directions, weather reports, sports scores or more can be automatically delivered to you.
Itâ€™s convenient: Internet Explorer 8 helps you find where you want to go as you type in the address of your chosen website.
By using Bing Search for faster performance and a richer return of information, the Smart Address Bar offers useful suggestions from your browsing history, favourites, and feeds. Type single words into the Smart Address Bar and they will be matched to simple domain names, making web surfing fast and efficient.
The Instant Search Box in Internet Explorer 8 is also more helpful, making it easier for you to find content of interest and increasing the odds that search results will be relevant. As you type a search term, you can see real-time search suggestions from your chosen search provider, including images. We know less clicks means youâ€™ll get more done, faster.
Itâ€™s private: Internet Explorer helps you keep your surfing to yourself: The search bar and address bar are separate. That means that while surfing with Internet Explorer 8, you use the web without your activity being logged and shared with the company who built your browser. You can be sure youâ€™re surfing the web with your privacy intact.
Itâ€™s safe: The independent security research firm, NSS Labs, recently found that Internet Explorer 8 caught 85% of the most common security threat facing Internet users today, socially-engineered malware.
This compares with Mozilla Firefox 3.5 catching only 29% and Google Chrome 4 blocking only 17% of these live threats online. Internet Explorer 8 is so safe to use because of such features as SmartScreen Filter, which automatically protects you from malicious software and phishing threats.
This blocks sites and downloads that put you at risk and it will tell you if a site is unsafe â€“ and you can also report it so others will be protected as well. In addition, the InPrivate browsing feature means no one can see what youâ€™re doing online â€“ great if you want to check email using a public computer.
The Web doesnâ€™t have to be the big, scary, confusing place that everyone else makes it out to be.Â While there is a lot of junk out there, and a lot of things that you need to be wary of, luckily you can put your trust in rock-solid technology that will help you navigate your way around the Web.
Internet Explorer 8, with all the new functionality, is a free download from Microsoftâ€™s website (http://www.microsoft.com/ie).Â Go ahead and try it. Make it yours.Â Youâ€™ll be surprised.
Emmanuel Onyeje,Â is the Country Manager, Microsoft Anglophone West Africa