Internet Explorer 9.0 is the latest browser from Microsoft. This is a real improvement over the program we all knew only three or four years ago, although you probably will not notice many differences if you are upgrading from version 8, as the major changes are hidden “beneath the hood”.
The Web has come a long way since it started. Today’s websites are full of images, flash applications, videos, and everyone expects them to be interactive, respond to their current location (work, home, or an exotic holiday’s destination), translate to their native language, and be easy to use. Fast and complete. There is too much information and too little time. We communicate with our friends, share family pictures, and even do our shopping online. And for all of that, we rely on our web browser. This program has become an integral part of our lives.
Internet Explorer 9 has focused on several features where his competitors were gaining an edge. Speed was always one of those, and Microsoft made significant improvements in this area. This time all the sites seem to appear fast and smoothly, and the annoying delay in opening new tabs found in previous versions is also gone.
Nowadays Internet Explorer comes with an Add-On Advisor which will tell you how long each add-on takes to load and asks if you want to disable it. Although this gives you more of an insight as to why your browsing may be slowing down, it is usually more of a nuisance than a feature: users want to surf the Web, and not really spend time configuring the browser.
As always, Microsoft is one step ahead when it comes to integrating its software with Windows operating system. In this new version, for instance, you will be able to pin your favorite webpage to the taskbar and open them later with one single click. Security concerns are not new, and Internet Explorer comes with several security features that help you prevent phishing scams (for example, when someone tries to “impersonate” your bank), installing malware, or accessing dangerous sites.
There were few cosmetic changes as well. The most impressive is the possibility to position your tab list right next to the address bar. This little change allows for an almost full screen browsing, with the Internet “filling” most of the screen, while a minimum set of controls are left at the top. This is a new browser trend started by Google’s Chrome.
Another trend Microsoft adopted (this time from Mozilla’s Firefox) is the “one box” concept (as named by Microsoft itself). Every time the user is faced with a non essential option (saving a password, for instance), the browser will continue its work and a yellow box will appear on the bottom, allowing the user to choose not only what to do, but also when to make that choice.
The latest few versions of Internet Explorer came with a 64 bits version. This is a new technology which is becoming rapidly dominant in today’s hardware and software. Nevertheless, there are some opinion makers clamming version 9.0 of Internet Explorer works faster in 32-bit mode. After installing, you will get two icons: the simple “Internet Explorer” and “Internet Explorer (64-bit)”. You should go with the first by now. In fact, some sites will not work with the latter (you will not be able to see any videos in YouTube, for instance).
To sum it all up, Internet Explorer has shown great improvement over the last few years, but in the end it seems to be keeping up with the competition rather than innovating. You can be almost sure you will not come across any site that does not work correctly with it (on the downside, hackers are much more active against Microsoft). On the other hand, if you follow latest trends in browsers technology, you will recognize all the major benefits of this version, for example, the opportunity to type your search queries and website addresses in the same place, the domain highlight for extra readability and security, recently closed tabs list, the option to show, pause, and resume your downloads, or the “new tab” displaying the list of your most visited pages.