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Microsoft slaps Google with IE8: the 'porn browser'

You remember Internet Explorer, right? Rubbish web browser used only by people who clung to AOL dialup until someone told them t'interweb lives in the blue 'e' on their desktop.

Well IE is back - and this time it's sexy. Fed up with Firefox's 'always clear my private data' hoovering up one-handed surfers (should that be wiping up?), Microsoft has included in the latest beta of Internet Explorer: 'InPrivate Browsing'.

See also:

Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta 2 review

Close an InPrivate Browsing session, and all traces of your web wonderings vanish. Cookies, temporary internet files, browsing history, form information, usernames, passwords. Gone. All you have to do is shut down when you hear the key hit the lock.

Rather sweetly, Microsoft says (and may even believe) this feature exists so you can buy your partner a secret gift. It will certainly have positive benefits when using shared computers for webmail or online banking (although I'd avoid both). But you and I are both adults, dear reader, and we understand why cheeky scamps in the blogosphere now refer to IE8 as 'the porn browser'.

There's more. Also in IE8 Beta 2 is InPrivate Blocking. This feature prevents websites from sharing information about you without your knowledge. No matter how nicely they ask, IE8 won't allow the site you're visiting to send data to third-party sites.

As well as luring back tech-savvy porno fiends and philandering web-daters, and acting as a sop to privacy campaigners, Microsoft has commercial reasons for encouraging libertines to surf in secret. It's gonna rile Google. Real bad.

By helping users access websites in secret, such sites can't collect data about the filthy little sods. This will, in turn, make it harder to sell targeted advertising against their grubby little search queries and email threads.

Google is, of course, the muscled, moustached washing machine repair man of the targeted online-advertising world. Little old Microsoft is a wallflower, desperately fluffing Yahoo, hoping for a piece of the action.

Privacy campaigners, porn lovers and Microsoft. An unholy trio indeed. But remember: if they succeed in ridding us of targeted ads, we'll probably have to pay for our porn. And if I remember my youth correctly, that means uncomfortable conversations in petrol stations.

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