The wait is over. At almost six months since the introduction of Internet Explorer Beta 1 in early March at MIX08, Microsoft unveiled the second Beta for the next iteration of its proprietary browser. In this context, the Redmond company lived up to its promise to deliver the second development milestone of IE8 by the end of this month, with the Beta 2 bits going live on August 27. According to Microsoft, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is available for download for 32-bit Windows XP, and both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. The Redmond giant indicated that the browser would integrate with the latest versions of the Windows client and server platforms, including Windows XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) and Windows Vista Service Pack 1(SP1).
"We’re excited to release IE8 Beta 2 for public download," stated Dean Hachamovitch, IE General Manager. "In addition to English, IE8 Beta 2 is available in Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and German. Additional languages will be available soon. While Beta 1 was for developers, we think that anyone who browses or works on the web will enjoy IE8 Beta 2. We focused our work around three themes: everyday browsing (the things that real people do all the time), safety (the term most people use for what we’ve called ‘trustworthy’ in previous posts), and the platform (the focus of Beta 1, how developers around the world will build the next billion web pages and the next waves of great services)."
Since the beginning of this week Microsoft has been building up the anticipation for the delivery of IE8 Beta 2. Although the company never confirmed the August 27 deadline, the release date had been already leaked. At this point in time the Redmond giant is reportedly gearing up for a November launch of the gold bits of IE8. In this context, Beta 2 is the last development milestone before IE8's Release to Web (RTW).
IE8 Beta 2 sports a number of new features such as InPrivate Browsing, InPrivate Blocking, InPrivate Subscriptions, but also Compatibility View, Search Suggestions, SmartScreen Filter Web Slices and Accelerators.
"If you are currently using IE8 Beta 1 on Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 with Automatic Updates turned on, you will receive IE8 Beta 2 through Windows Update. Download IE8 Beta 2, use it – the browser itself, the developer tools, writing an Accelerator, marking part of your page as a Web Slice – and let us know what you think," Hachamovitch added.
Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 2 is available for download here.