Internet Explorer 9 Beta – First Impressions

The much anticipated release of the IE 9 beta is out and didn’t waste much time in installing it. The first thing caught my attention was the interface. Less congested design with less icons and more screen real estate.
Layout & Interface
IE 9 brings significant changes to its layout, the address bar, icons and the tabs now appear in a single row which there by increases the area for the content. Also Reload, Stop, Compatibility buttons appears next to the address bar and the Home, Favorite and Settings button now appear to the right of the screen. These icons are gray in color by default and changes the color when we hover mouse over them. The status bar is turned off by default and I found it bit annoying coz most of the users want to see the progress bar during the loading of a page.
Another one catches the user attention will be the absence of the address box. This explains why they integrated Bing right into the address bar, so it works either as an address bar or a search bar and Microsoft termed it as “Private OneBox”.

As you can see from the above screen shot, we can turn off the search suggestion in the drop down itself and also the various segregations can be collapsed or expanded there by decreasing the amount of scrolling. Even though Bing is the default search provider, we can add n number of search providers and can even change the default provider. Another feature is the ability to shut down individual tabs if a website hangs, rather than terminating the entire browser from the task manager.

Another first in IE 9 is the much anticipated Download manager. This is the one feature every surfer wants in a browser and after much wait MS guys incorporated it into their flagship product.
Another nifty feature is the one appears to the bottom of the screen, the notification window. In IE 9 all the notifications and warning appears in this box unlike the pop up dialog boxes in IE 8.

The most interesting innovation in IE 9 is the pinned shortcuts. We can simply drag and drop a tab in to the taskbar and it will appear as an application there. For example if open a Facebook page in a tab and then drop it on to the task bar, the icon in the taskbar will not be the much famous “e” but it will pull down the favicon from Facebook site. It looks like that the designers had paid attention to the minute details, coz we can identify a pinned site and a site opened in a normal browser window by the color of the icons.

The other significant change is that they decided to hide the Quick Tabs(Ctrl + Q). According to Microsoft, they had intentionally did this coz of the aero peek feature in Windows 7. With Aero Peek we can see the full page view of the page and it gives a much better view than the one in its predecessor. Then comes the new about:Tabs page which comes when we open a new page in IE9. It lists all the frequently visited pages in a nice layout and makes it even easier to go back.

Again you can see the attention to the detail, the color in the histogram style bars in each tab is picked from the favicon of the sites and it given them a more personalized look to it.

In a whole I was pretty much impressed with the changes they had made to layout and there are many areas needs to be explored such as the hardware acceleration for rendering, HTML 5 support, new javascript engine etc etc and I will be covering those topics very soon… Also its still in beta and the changes we see may or may not be incorporated in the final release. IE 9 works best with Windows 7 and there is no support for Windows XP. Installation is straight forward and installer can be downloaded from here. The official site for IE 9 is

Now the all important question is it worth to download it when we have FF or Chrome installed in our PC. According to me this one has more to offer than its predecessors especially in performance and compatibility with industry standards. There is no harm in giving a try… so go on folks, download it and explore. Also please don’t forget to give feedback after trying… Till next time, happy surfing….

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