While it's easy for Firefox die-hards like me to turn our noses up at Internet Explorer, the fact is that Microsoft's browser has made a lot of progress. You've no doubt heard about newfangled features like Accelerators and Web Slices (see Preston Gralla's full IE8 review for more details), but IE8 also has plenty of small but worthwhile usability improvements.
First and foremost: dynamic inline search. This has nothing to do with search engines; rather, it's about searching for text within the page you're currently viewing. Previous versions of IE relied on a pop-up search box, into which you'd enter the text you wanted to find--then click Find. Bleh.
In IE8 (as in the last several versions of Firefox), searching within a page (a.k.a. inline) is dynamic: Hit Ctrl-F to bring up the search field (it appears just below the tabs), then start typing. The browser will highlight the closest match with each character you enter.
In the accompanying screenshot, you can see that I've typed out netbook, but IE started highlighting the word by the time I'd entered net. What's more, if a search term appears in both a headline and body text, the browser highlights both--and in different colors! Even Firefox doesn't do that.
If you haven't tried Internet Explorer 8 yet, I really recommend taking a look. It's way better than previous versions. And, let's face it, once in a while you come across a site that doesn't play nice in Firefox, so sometimes IE is a necessity. Might as well get the latest and greatest.
One last bit of incentive: For every download of IE8 from Microsoft's Browser for the Better site, the company will donate the financial equivalent of eight meals to Feeding America, a non-profit organization that supplies local food banks. The campaign, which helps feed kids who normally get free or subsidized meals at school (but not during the summer), runs through August 8.