Internet Explorer may be the most used web browser in the world, but its dominance has been nipped at by rivals who focus on easy-to-use interfaces and innovative features. In those realms, IE has consistently been a step behind the competition, namely Opera, Safari, FireFox, and Chrome.
No more. At a gathering titled the “Beauty of the Web” event, Microsoft unveiled a beta version of Internet Explorer 9. This time around IE features a very Chrome-like interface, lets you pin websites to the taskbar, features tags you can drag out to make new pages, and can leverage your GPU to speed up browsing. In short, it’s not your grandmother’s IE.
The most noticeable change is the interface. Gone are toolbars littered with buttons, noisy tchokes, and menus. Instead the top of the frame includes back and forward buttons, a bar that works double-time for search and web addresses, refresh and close buttons, and three tiny icons (one for home, one for favorites, and one for settings access).
Microsoft started today’s event with this comment: “The Web is about sites. The browser should be too.”
That explains one of IE9′s most prevalent features: the ability to pin websites to the taskbar as though they were individual applications. And there are more ways that IE9 plays up this website-focused philosophy: for instance, a particular site can change the colors of the back and forward buttons, giving the user subtle visual clues that moving back or forward still leaves them within a particular site’s ecosystem.
Other examples include the browser’s use of Aero Snap to drag tabs and turn them into a separate window, and dragging bookmarks to the taskbar to pin them.
Microsoft also said that site designers can program the jumplists that appear when a site is pinned to the taskbar.
The downside to such a high level of Windows 7 capability is that IE9 does not work in Windows XP. It does, however, work for Window Vista users.
It was no secret that Microsoft’s a big supporter of the push to HTML5, and IE9 certainly leverages the web standard. During the demo, Microsoft showed off an animated version of the Bing homepage that featured waves rolling and crashing unto a beach. They also showed how HTML 5 was used to dynamically unfold web search results.
IE9 also uses your computer’s graphics processor to speed up the rendering of web content, making it faster to load pages and play video or animations at higher frame rates than before.
On top of the speed improvements, IE9 also includes malware detection software that warns against suspect downloads or dangerous advertisements as well as a feature to monitor the performance suck of add-ons that may affect the speed of the browser all together.
Sure it’s still in beta, but IE9 offers functionality that’s not available in any other browser, making it a must-try for any fan of navigating the internet, a.k.a everyone. Download it now at www.beautyoftheweb.com.