Internet Explorer 8 available as of noon EDT today

Microsoft announced in a press release today that Internet Explorer 8 will be available for download at noon EDT today. Users who want the new version asap will have to select to download it manually from as Microsoft won't be pushing it via automatic update right away, according to a CNET article.

Microsoft has been promoting IE 8's security features and compatibility with web standards. It claims that IE 8 "blocks two to four times as many malicious sites as other browsers on the market today" according to a study by NSS Labs. It also claims that IE 8 is "one of the fastest browsers on the market today, beating other top browsers in page load time on almost 50 percent." In neither instance does it specify which of the other browsers it is using for comparison.

I'm looking forward to checking the new version out; I've resisted downloading any of the preview builds. Microsoft lost me to Firefox a long time ago, but IE 8 hits when my browser choice is a bit unsettled. I've been running Safari 4 beta on my Macs recently, and have been dabbling with Google Chrome on my Windows machines.

What about you? Are you a stalwart IE user looking forward to a new version, or does your heart belong to another? Will you be grabbing IE 8 at noon, or waiting to see how the browser performs for others before you subject yourself to the unknown?

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