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IE team working on 'privacy mode'

IE team working on 'privacy mode'

It's currently unknown whether Inprivate and Cleartracks will be included with the final release of IE8.

If you're worried about others getting a sniff of your more 'interesting' browsing habits, you might want to check out something the Internet Explorer team have been working on over at Microsoft.

CNet reports that the team behind the default Windows web-browser has announced planned availability of a 'privacy mode' for their software, possibly under the names Cleartracks and Inprivate – two recent trademarks for which the company has applied.

Cleartracks, according to the patent application, is a series of “computer programs for deleting search history after accessing Web sites” - much like the freely avaialble CCleaner – which it is likely will end up built in to the Internet Explorer front-end. Inprivate, on the other hand, is a selection of “computer programs for disabling the history and file caching features of a Web browser; and computer software for notifying a user of a Web browser when others are tracking Web use and for controlling the information others can access about such use.

While cache- and history-clearing functionality is available in all browsers – in Internet Explorer it's accessible via the Tools menu in Internet Explorer Options – the additional functionality offered by Inprivate should be of interest to people who like their habits kept under the radar.

Whether Internet Explorer 8 will be the first to début the new privacy features when it's released remains to be seen: with the Cleartracks and Inprivate functionality not having featured in the beta test versions, I'd expect it to be released as a later add on or via a service pack update. If IE8 were to add in the private browsing functionality, it would join Apple's Safari as the second mainstream browser to offer a specific mode for guaranteed privacy, rather than features to remove traces after they have already been left.

Can you see a use for a private browsing mode – besides the obvious – or do you think Microsoft should concentrate more on the core functionality of the browser? Share your thoughts over in the forums.