Internet Explorer 9 Now Available
Microsoft today launched its public beta version of Internet Explorer 9 at its "Beauty of the Web" event at the Concourse Exhibition Center in San Francisco.
While today's release is technically a beta or test version, Microsoft engineers have assured users IE9 is very close to being finalized. The download is only compatible with Vista and Windows 7 ― another reason to upgrade your operating system from XP.
Internet Explorer received a major facelift, new features and better security, but the true beauty of the Web was revealed when Microsoft previewed Bing's graphically enhanced version coming to browsers later this month. The company said 70 partners had already optimized their sites for IE9 to allow for more graphically rich browsing experiences, including Facebook, Hulu, CNN and The Wall Street Journal.
Internet Explorer 9 is the first browser with full hardware acceleration of HTML5, reallocating much of the graphic processing to the GPU instead of the CPU. By using the GPU, IE9 is able to use the 90 percent of the PC’s power that went previously untapped by Web browsers, according to Microsoft.
Independent speed tests show IE9 is comparable in page load time to Firefox and reasonably close to Safari and Chrome, which may quell many of IE's detractors who have complained about the browser's sluggishness.
Here's the rundown on IE9:
IE9 has been redesigned to "put the user's focus on the site, not on the browser," Dean Hachamovitch, corporate vice president of Internet Explorer, said.
For instance, the newly prominent back and forward buttons automatically change colors to match the website currently open. A simplified navigation bar combines address bar and search bar à la Chrome.
IE9 features the ability to pin websites to the task bar along the bottom of the display. Favicon buttons, the tiny icons that appear next to a site's address, are enlarged and displayed in neat rows. Sites who have optimized for IE9 can provide clickable jumplists. Facebook a favorite? When it's pinned to IE9, one click can take you to your messages, newsfeed or other favorite destination.
Tear-off tabs that you can virtually tear off and snap up as separate windows are made possible through Microsoft's Aero Snap. Tabs can be dragged to the task bar and pinned for easy future access. Activating a new tab results in thumbnails of most visited pages on that particular site rather than a blank page.
Like Firefox with its crash protection that enables users to close a single tab when a site crashes rather than having to restart the browser, IE9 offers tab isolation.
IE9 finally incorporated a download manager that provides a list of recent downloads and realtime download progress.
"It's like an early warning system against malware," Hachamovitch said.
The demo included two seemingly identical links, one legitimate and one malware . The legit link passed the browser filter and therefore did not stop the process with an alert, while the malicious link displayed an alert accompanied by a brief, specific explanation.
Installing IE9 beta will override any older versions of Internet Explorer. Download and compare it with Firefox and Chrome . The interface is intuitive and will be very familiar to Chrome users.The new features are a bonus. What are you waiting for?
IE9 is now available for download in 33 languages. The process takes less than a minute, but you will have to restart your computer.
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