I was under the impression that I was going to have to wait until Microsoft shipped Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 to discuss this, but the IE team today blogged about one of the features from that upcoming release, InPrivate Browsing:

When we began planning IE8, we took a hard look at our customers’ concerns about privacy on the web. As evidenced by some of the comments on this blog during the IE7 days, many users are concerned about so-called “over-the-shoulder privacy”, or the ability to control what their spouses, friends, kids, and co-workers might see.

IE8 gives users more choice about controlling what information they keep and exchange. In the first part of this post I’ll describe two Internet Explorer 8 features that help you control your history, cookies, and other information that Internet Explorer stores on your behalf. In the latter part, I’ll describe two more features that can help you control how your browsing history is shared by websites. By default, IE8 browses the web the same way IE7 does.

  • InPrivate Browsing lets you control whether or not IE saves your browsing history, cookies, and other data
  • Delete Browsing History helps you control your browsing history after you’ve visited websites.
  • InPrivate Blocking informs you about content that is in a position to observe your browsing history, and allows you to block it
  • InPrivate Subscriptions allow you to augment the capability of InPrivate Blocking by subscribing to lists of websites to block or allow.

So, I'll have an IE 8 Beta 2 review out as soon as Microsoft makes the product available to the public. In the meantime, here's an unedited bit I'd previously written about InPrivate Browsing:

A major new feature called InPrivate Browsing lets the user open a separate IE window that won't later reveal any of the browsing history or information that was transacted while open. Hachamovitch called this "over the shoulder" security: The browser history, temporary Internet files, forms data, cookies, and any usernames and passwords are not stored by the browser after the window is closed. InPrivate Browsing is great for those times when you want to keep your activities secret, such as when you're buying a present for the boss. "Buy the present and then just close the window," Hachamovitch added.

InPrivate Browsing also enables a secondary safety feature called InPrivate Blocking that prevents Web sites from sharing cookie data about the user with third party sites. This feature is aimed at protecting the privacy of the user and can be enabled separately from InPrivate Browsing as well.

More soon...