Even though Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the most popular browser in the industry, no doubt due to the fact that users don’t have to do anything but start the operating system to use it, Mozilla is coming on strong. This type of competition is fantastic when it comes to innovation, because it means that both players will continue to work hard to one-up each other. One of the biggest improvements that Microsoft has announced for IE8 is a “privacy mode,” which allows users to temporarily turn off the browser’s history and cookies and will also remove any temporary files generated during the private session as soon as the browser is closed.

Microsoft Tips IE8 Privacy Features (PC Mag)

IE8 will also include a feature that helps to combat cross-site scripting, an attack that embeds malicious code in legitimate Web sites. Some people believe that this feature will break some advertisements, which is a boon to users but could cause ripples in a market that Microsoft would dearly love to crack. Mozilla isn’t sitting on its laurels either, enabling a feature that asks Firefox 2 users to upgrade to the new version, experienced by yours truly for the first time tonight as I sat down to write this post. In addition, a new just-in-time compiling method in Firefox 3.1 could speed up the upstart browser by three times on sites that extensively use Java and Javascript.

Microsoft’s IE 8 Puts Giant Web Hole on Notice (The Register)

IE8 Will Contain an Accidental Ad Blocker (Slashdot)

Mozilla Steps Up Firefox 3 Push (VNUNet)

Firefox 3.1 Will Be Three Times Faster, Says Mozilla (Tech Radar)

There are some people out there who have called Microsoft’s “privacy mode” a virtual “porn mode.” No doubt some people will use the feature for exactly that, but this will be more of a concern for spouses who suspect their partners are doing things they shouldn’t as most employers that track usage don’t go through user’s history files, they collect data as it is flowing to the Internet. Other features in the new IE will hopefully cut down on some of the bad code out there, but Firefox is making headway where users will notice it more: speed. In general, I would rather have a lightning-fast browser than one that has features that I will likely never use. What do you think of the newest browser features?