Brien Posey's Windows Blog

Jan 23 2009   3:14AM GMT

Do We Really Need the Suggested Sites Feature?

Brien Posey Brien Posey Profile: Brien Posey

When you open the Beta version of Internet Explorer 8 that comes bundled with Windows 7 for the first time, there is a pop-up that asks you if you want to enable suggested sites. The text on the popup explains that suggested sites allows Internet Explorer to recommend other sites that you might enjoy, based on your browsing history.

When I first saw this text, I had a bad feeling about the feature. My mind instantly flashed to some adware that I have seen that serves up targeted ads based on your browsing history. I could just imagine doing my online banking and then getting a popup recommending fifteen other banking Web sites that I “might enjoy”.

Thankfully, the feature doesn’t work like that (at least not from what I have seen). IE places a Suggested Sites link on the toolbar. When you visit a Web site and you want to see more sites like it, you can click the link, and a search engine populates the dialog box with similar sites. I personally can’t picture myself using this feature, but at least it isn’t as obnoxious as I thought that it was going to be. I think that the feature may even prove to be helpful for some less experienced users, although I have to wonder how long it will be before the results that are displayed are driven by marketing dollars.

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