Today Microsoft finally released the newest version of Internet Explorer, complete with hardware acceleration, web standards support, and a completely redesigned interface focused on using web sites as applications. Join us for a tour of the features in Internet Explorer 9.
We installed the 64-bit version of IE 9 on a Windows Ultimate x64 computer and the install took several minutes. We have the download link for the public beta below so you can download it and try it yourself.
To complete the installation we did have to reboot our machine for everything to be installed correctly.
New Look, Features, and Performance
The interface is very slick and clean looking now. No longer does it feel like an outdated and bloated browser like in IE 8 and before.
When we first started it up after the reboot we were asked if we wanted to disable addons for faster launching. For now we went ahead and chose Ask me later. It already seems to open faster than previous versions of IE.
In fact, anytime IE 9 needs to ask you something, it does it in a nice low key box at the bottom of the browser. This is cool as it doesn’t get in your face while trying to read a site like before.
When you first start it you can check out some very cool things that can be done with HTML 5. This is worth checking out after installing it.
It’s slick, presented very nicely, and almost has a Zune HD Interface experience going on. For instance here we have different icons for popular sites and can easily roll over each one to check out the content. Then if you want it will open a new tab and bring you directly to the site.
Here you can see by default it’s not ridden with a bunch of needless clutter. The interface is very clean and attractive.
When you can now search directly from the address bar (like in Chrome) and you have the option to turn on suggested sites or not. You can use Bing or other providers if you wish.
When you type in your search term you will see your History and Bing suggestions.
In this example we chose Bing Suggestions and it brought us to Bing where we could scroll through the results.
Add Tabs to Taskbar
One of the more touted features at the Conference today was the ability to pin tabs to the Taskbar in Windows 7. This is a cool feature that will give you easy access to your most used sites.
Here is another look at it with large icons on the Taskbar.
With IE9 open you can get the page icons to the Taskbar a couple of ways. One is to drag and drop the site icon. Here we are bringing Fox Sports down to our Taskbar.
Then simply Pin to Taskbar.
Or you can actually drag the entire tab down to the Taskbar as well. Although this feels a bit more cumbersome. For example here we’re bringing an entire How-To Geek tab with use across our screen to the Taskbar.
Either way the results are the same and you can pin any specific page to the Windows 7 Taskbar.
Some site tabs that you pin to the taskbar will include the Jump List feature such as Twitter and Facebook. In this Twitter example we can start a new Tweet, Direct Message, Search and more.Very cool!
Here is an example of the Facebook icon pinned to the Taskbar and using it’s Jump List. We have IE 9 closed and we can still access the social site’s main features!
What Happened to IE 8 Features?
If you wondering where the old IE 8 features are…well they’re still around, just hidden. One way you can get to them is right click on the site icon which appears on the upper left-hand corner. That pulls up a menu to bring back some of the controls you might be more accustomed to such as the Favorites and Status bar.
Here we added them all to the UI, and it still looks nice, but if you want more page viewing real estate you probably want to keep them hidden when you can.
This latest version of Internet Explorer is quite amazing versus previous versions. The new slick and clean interface actually makes it fun to use, which you can’t really say for previous versions.