Trial, or beta, versions of Internet Explorer 8 are already available
Microsoft is planning a "privacy mode" for the next release of its Internet Explorer (IE) web browser.
By clicking a button, users of IE8 will be able to limit how much information is recorded about where they go online and what they do.
Microsoft watchers have spotted two applications covering trademarks on ways to manage the amount of information a browser logs.
When introduced the privacy mode will match features found on other browsers.
Australian blogger Long Zheng has found two trademark applications made by Microsoft on 30 July for ideas it calls "Cleartracks" and "Inprivate".
The applications deal with methods of erasing data that browsing programs log, turning off features that record sites visited or notifying users of what sites are doing to log a visit.
While many browsers already have menu options that let people alter security settings and clear history files it typically has to be done on a use-by-use basis.
Users may wish to turn on the privacy mode if they are planning a surprise party, buying presents or researching a medical condition and do not want others users of the same computer to find out.
Internet Explorer 8 is due to go on general release late in 2008 though early trial versions are already available.
By comparison Apple's Safari browser already has a privacy mode and developers working for Mozilla, creators of Firefox, are reportedly working on a similar feature for future versions.
Other browsers, such as Xerobank, take a more thorough approach to privacy and try to anonymise all web use.