Based on two recent trademark applications, Microsoft is planning a privacy mode for the next version of Internet Explorer (IE 8).
According to a blog post from Microsoft enthusiast Long Zheng, the applications were filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on July 30.
The requests are for “CLEARTRACKS," which are computer programs for deleting search history after accessing websites, according to the Microsoft application, and INPRIVATE, which are programs for disabling the history and file caching features of a web browser.
INPRIVATE also could be used to notify a user of a web browser when others are tracking web use and for controlling the information others can access about such use.
These could enable a user of Internet Explorer 8 to limit how much information is recorded about where they go and what they do. In theory, users could surf the web and leave no trace.
Similar options for erasing browsing history have been featured on other browsers, notably Apple's Safari browser, which has a privacy mode. And a secure browser, called xB Browser automatically clears surfing history and deletes cookies when the browser closes. Developers working on Mozilla's Firefox are apparently designing similar features for future versions (the recent release of Firefox 3 had none).
Internet Explorer 8 is due to be released later this year.