Microsoft's Internet Explorer threatens click-through ads

SAN FRANCISCO - Microsoft has launched an updated version of its web browser Internet Explorer, which includes a privacy mode that can block access to users' browsing habits from third-party sites, eliminating unwanted ads.

The InPrivate setting, available on Explorer 8, which is currently available as a beta version, lets users see in advance what content is being delivered from third parties when visiting a website.

Users can then choose to block the content, which may include advertising, or third-party software that tracks users' movements.

They can also choose a default setting that automatically blocks or allows a list of websites.

Some have dubbed it "porn mode" because web "cookies" and the user's browsing history are deleted when the tab is closed.

The setting effectively works against certain ad models, including that used by Google's newly acquired DoubleClick business, which delivers targeted advertising to users based on their browsing habits.

Analysts have suggested that if the hype around internet privacy gains momentum, more users will hit the privacy button, which will threaten click-through advertising.

Other internet browsers already have a similar privacy option to InPrivate but Microsoft has given the setting a much more prominent position in its new browser.

Several other features of Explorer 8 include a smart address bar similar to that seen in the newest version of Firefox, improved security, enhanced tabbed browsing and a visual search facility.

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