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new internet explorerGeeks and Internet Explorer have rarely been on friendly terms. In the early days of Windows however, users of Windows computers didn’t have a great deal of choice as the only major competitor, Netscape, was struggling.

Internet Explorer’s popularity seems to have peaked in 2003 at a stunning market share of 95 percent, but fierce new web browsers like Firefox and Chrome have now reduced IE’s share to between 50 and 60 percent (depending on who you ask).

Microsoft, in classic form, has vowed to go back on the offensive with the latest iteration of IE, Internet Explorer 9. This new web browser is now available in beta form. Let’s take a look at IE9 and see what new features Microsoft is using to compete.

Hey! You Got Some Chrome In My Internet Explorer!

Loading Internet Explorer is rather jarring if you haven’t recently used Google Chrome. All of the recent Internet Explorer versions, including IE8, relied on a similar interface that made use of multiple toolbars located at the top of the browser window. This is how web browsers were made for years, and Microsoft seemed content with the interface they’ve developed.

Apparently Chrome made the IE team rethink their plans. This new version of Internet Explorer 9 stuffs your screen full of, uh, nothing. In fact, Internet Explorer’s default settings devote less pixels to toolbars than Google Chrome  – and not by just a little bit, either. Don’t believe me? Check out this screenshot below comparing the two side-by-side.

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new internet explorer

If you told me six months ago that IE9 would rely on a more minimalist interface than Google Chrome I would have slapped you with a bass. But there you have it.

This minimalism leaks over to other areas of the interface as well. Notifications now pop up at the bottom of the browser page when they’re required and immediately go away after you’ve interacted with them. The favorites sidebar has been changed as well, so it only takes up a limited portion of the web browser instead of eating up hoards of pixel space even when you only have a handful of favorites listed.

new version of internet explorer

Internet Explorer 9 also rips off – er, is inspired by – the tab window found when you open a new tab in Chrome or Safari. Just as in those browsers, opening a new tab now presents you with a summary of your ten most popular sites. You can also reopen closed tabs, reopen your last session, or start a private browsing session from this menu.

Integration With Windows 7

Windows 7 The Windows 7 Guide: From Newbies To Pros [PDF] The Windows 7 Guide: From Newbies To Pros [PDF] Read More is a really solid operating system. All reports so far seem to indication that Microsoft is having a far easier time selling Windows 7 than Vista, so it isn’t unreasonable to expect a majority of computers to be running Windows 7 within the next year or two. Internet Explorer 9 provides further reason to upgrade by taking advantage of the new features in Windows 7.

new version of internet explorer

This integration revolves around Windows 7 jumplists Microsoft Windows 7: The 7 Most Noticeable New Features Microsoft Windows 7: The 7 Most Noticeable New Features Read More . For example, let’s say you decide to pin Twitter to your taskbar. Right-clicking on the Twitter icon will bring up a jumplist that lets you immediately write a new tweet or send a message. This  feature is brilliant because websites like Facebook and Twitter already behave more like applications than traditional webpages.

Changes Under The Hood

Chrome’s humorous speed test videos highlighted a very simple fact – Chrome is frickin fast! Internet Explorer, on the other hand, has never been known for its speed. Shaving off a few seconds here and there when loading a webpage may not seem important, but it makes a big difference in the subjective feel of how fast a program is.

Internet Explorer 9, I’m somewhat surprised to report, is extremely quick. As quick as Chrome? Maybe. I’m not equipped to fully benchmark a browser, and IE9 is still in beta besides, but I can tell you that IE9 beta feels as quick as Chrome. And I typically use Chrome as my primary browser.

new internet explorer

There are reasons for this. Internet Explorer 9 makes improvements to JScript and CSS rendering and also includes robust HTML5 support. These improvements also have increased IE9’s score in the Acid 3 web standards test. The latest build of IE9 scored 95/100, up from a score of 20/100 in IE8.

Conclusion

I’m really impressed by the beta build of Internet Explorer 9. It is a browser that I’d seriously consider using instead of Chrome, my regular browser. It felt equally quick and the integration with Windows 7 jumplists is awesome.

Do you agree, or do you think Microsoft still has a lot of catch up to do? Let us know in the comments.

  1. temizlik firması
    November 11, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    thanks for the post, i like it and i add my bookmark, thank you very much

    Temizlik Åžirketi

  2. Muntoo
    October 25, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Chrome Forever! (Although I may secretly be considering using IE9... MAYBE. There's a 25% chance of a switch.)
    Google came up with all the ideas, so I'll probably stay with Chrome because they might come up with something new again! Also, it's OPEN-SOURCE.

  3. Muntoo
    October 25, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Chrome Forever! (Although I may secretly be considering using IE9... MAYBE. There's a 25% chance of a switch.)
    Google came up with all the ideas, so I'll probably stay with Chrome because they might come up with something new again! Also, it's OPEN-SOURCE.

  4. Anand
    October 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    IE back again...

  5. Chase Vandiver
    October 3, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Are add-ons compatible with IE9?

  6. Cascadasmith34
    October 3, 2010 at 2:09 am
  7. Robgreen
    September 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

    Round back/forward button. Perfectly squared off address box. Rounded tabs.

    That lack of consistency makes it look strange.

  8. Robgreen
    September 30, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Round back/forward button. Perfectly squared off address box. Rounded tabs.

    That lack of consistency makes it look strange.

  9. G389556
    September 29, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    There is an easy way to improve the IE browser.....................use Firefox

  10. Jasnzl2
    September 29, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Hmmm well, you could add the same function in Chrome easily enough but i see your point. However, IE does have a Favorites Bar option too, so to me this would be the fairest comparison.

    Still, as default behaviour goes, point taken...to a degree :)

  11. M.S. Smith
    September 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    You're right, Chrome is slightly (literally a few pixels) thinner when maximized and the bookmark bar is turned off.

    With that said, Chrome's bookmark bar is not as good as the favorites system that IE9 is using. Most modern PCs are restricted on vertical space, not horizontal space, so it makes more sense to place bookmarks to the left or right rather than at the top.

  12. Mikkl
    September 29, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Yeah like Jasnzl2 says the claim that IE uses less space than chrome isn't entirely fair. Sure it maybe be similar and in non-maximized mode IE may use a bit less space than chrome, but comparing them with the bookmark bar enabled in chrome (not default) is pretty stupid.

  13. Jasnzl2
    September 29, 2010 at 11:54 am

    ...actually in addition to my last comment...Maximized Chrome puts the minimize/close buttons on the same line as the tabs, whereas it does not when you're not maximized as shown in the screenshot, so again...more space saved.

  14. Jasnzl2
    September 29, 2010 at 9:54 am

    ...actually in addition to my last comment...Maximized Chrome puts the minimize/close buttons on the same line as the tabs, whereas it does not when you're not maximized as shown in the screenshot, so again...more space saved.

  15. Jasnzl2
    September 29, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Well, in fairness to Chrome, you do have the bookmarks bar on in that screenshot comparison.

    I run without the bar in Chrome (as it helpfully shows up temporarily anyway when you open a new tab) so for me it's still thinner than IE by default.

    The new IE interface is nice, but it's still a little chunky and there's a lot of wasted space.

  16. Jasnzl2
    September 29, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Well, in fairness to Chrome, you do have the bookmarks bar on in that screenshot comparison.

    I run without the bar in Chrome (as it helpfully shows up temporarily anyway when you open a new tab) so for me it's still thinner than IE by default.

    The new IE interface is nice, but it's still a little chunky and there's a lot of wasted space.

    • M.S. Smith
      September 29, 2010 at 4:31 pm

      You're right, Chrome is slightly (literally a few pixels) thinner when maximized and the bookmark bar is turned off.

      With that said, Chrome's bookmark bar is not as good as the favorites system that IE9 is using. Most modern PCs are restricted on vertical space, not horizontal space, so it makes more sense to place bookmarks to the left or right rather than at the top.

      • Jasnzl2
        September 29, 2010 at 7:48 pm

        Hmmm well, you could add the same function in Chrome easily enough but i see your point. However, IE does have a Favorites Bar option too, so to me this would be the fairest comparison.

        Still, as default behaviour goes, point taken...to a degree :)

  17. Rick_ie_team
    September 29, 2010 at 12:50 am

    There are lots of opinions around about which browser is better or not, however I encourage people to take a look at some of the HTML5 webpages at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/ with IE9 and compare your experience.

    Rick
    IE Outreach Team

  18. Rick_ie_team
    September 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    There are lots of opinions around about which browser is better or not, however I encourage people to take a look at some of the HTML5 webpages at http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/ with IE9 and compare your experience.

    Rick
    IE Outreach Team

  19. Mark O'Neill
    September 28, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I would echo Strodtbeck - too little too late. IE's time has passed. Now browsers like Firefox and Chrome are in the driving seat.

  20. chrelad
    September 28, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    It's one thing to develop a great browser for one platform (IE) using another company's ideas.

    To develop a browser for *all* platforms with
    - A consistent degree of excellence
    - Speed ( :D )
    - Awesome automatic-update system (http://www.chromium.org/chromi...
    - Public facing continuous integration testing infrastructure (http://build.chromium.org/buil...
    - Open sourced codebase
    - Developers who accept patches and suggestions from the public
    - Public facing bug reporting system (http://code.google.com/p/chrom...
    - Security a top priority (http://code.google.com/p/chrom...
    - Ability to use native themes and window decorations (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
    - Developer snapshots (http://build.chromium.org/buil...
    - Developer channels (http://www.chromium.org/gettin...
    - Proven and cross-browser developer tools (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
    - Syncing capabilities (http://www.google.com/support/...
    - Robust extension API (http://dev.chromium.org/develo...
    - Proven WebGL and GPU rendering (http://blog.chromium.org/2010/...
    - Clear and consistent design goals (http://dev.chromium.org/develo...
    - etc...

    That's a whole other story.

  21. Strodtbeck
    September 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    Sorry MS & IE team. . . too little too late. . . I don't want to support a browsers & company that made it their mission to slow the development of the web. . ..

  22. Strodtbeck
    September 28, 2010 at 8:11 pm

    Sorry MS & IE team. . . too little too late. . . I don't want to support a browsers & company that made it their mission to slow the development of the web. . ..

  23. chrelad
    September 28, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    It's one thing to develop a great browser for one platform (IE) using another company's ideas.

    To develop a browser for *all* platforms with
    - A consistent degree of excellence
    - Speed ( :D )
    - Awesome automatic-update system (http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/chromiumos-design-docs/autoupdate-details)
    - Public facing continuous integration testing infrastructure (http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/waterfall/console)
    - Open sourced codebase
    - Developers who accept patches and suggestions from the public
    - Public facing bug reporting system (http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/list?can=2&q=&sort=pri+mstone&colspec=ID%20Stars%20Pri%20Area%20Type%20Status%20Summary%20Modified%20Owner%20Mstone)
    - Security a top priority (http://code.google.com/p/chromium/issues/list?can=1&q=label:security)
    - Ability to use native themes and window decorations (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qx3rlwnBQyc)
    - Developer snapshots (http://build.chromium.org/buildbot/snapshots/)
    - Developer channels (http://www.chromium.org/getting-involved/dev-channel)
    - Proven and cross-browser developer tools (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH7sJbyXHuk)
    - Syncing capabilities (http://www.google.com/support/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=165139)
    - Robust extension API (http://dev.chromium.org/developers/design-documents/extensions)
    - Proven WebGL and GPU rendering (http://blog.chromium.org/2010/09/unleashing-gpu-acceleration-on-web.html)
    - Clear and consistent design goals (http://dev.chromium.org/developers/design-documents)
    - etc...

    That's a whole other story.

  24. Viktor Vasconcelos
    September 28, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    I can't verify my source but I must point out that the 5 points missing from the Acid3 test refers to fonts that no longer/never were actual standards.

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