Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 Beta Review


Even though the arrival of Firefox and Chrome did a lot of damage to its reputation and popularity Internet Explorer has remained one of the most widely used web browser (simply because it is bundled with all versions of Windows). It was slow, ugly and was flooded with virus attacks. People were eagerly waiting for a better, safer option. That's when Firefox was launched. It became very popular immediately and by 2008, about 20% percent of all the users switched to Firefox. Most people who stuck with Internet Explorer were ignorant about it. Later Google Chrome came out adding fuel to fire. I've seen web browser comparison charts without Internet Explorer. And some included it in the charts just to show how good the others are.

But Microsoft will not give up easily. Now they've come up with a NEW Internet Explorer.

Unleash a more beautiful web.

That's what Microsoft has to say about the new IE 9.

Initial thoughts

I downloaded and installed it a few days after its launch.

As I launched the beta for the first time, I was welcomed by the addons -performance advisor which identifies addons that may be slowing down the browser and gives you the information you need to disable or fix it, directly from the Notification Bar itself. I disabled all of them.

The new Internet Explorer is entirely different from the older versions which we are familiar with. The first thing you will notice is the absence of those old fashion menu bar and things like that on top of the window. The address bar and the search bar have now combined to form the 'One Box'. So you'll only see what's essential to your browsing experience. I think MS took a few leaves out of Chrome's book. The interface looks very good. The new IE responds a lot quicker than the previous ones and it also loads pages very quickly. Maybe not as quick as Chrome but still very fast. Tear Off Tabs is a feature in IE 9 that facilitates side by side comparison of two pages when needed. I found this very useful. Internet Explorer 9 has an integrated download manager and if you're on Windows 7, you can pin websites to the taskbar for easy access.

Security and Reliability
They've improved the Smart Screen Filter which is a security feature that protects the user from phishing and malware attacks. And most importantly IE 9 shows us warnings (when downloading) only based on the reputation of the files that we are about to download. It is a very useful feature because IE was very annoying in the past, asking for a 1000 permissions to download a file. It offers private browsing which Firefox introduced a century ago. But still I'm happy to see that. Another feature they seem to have adopted from Chrome is tab isolation. If a site crashes on one tab, the rest of the tabs will remain active. So, you keep browsing, undisturbed.

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