IE9 got released on 14 Mar’ 2011 at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Microsoft announces that IE9 as not only fastest, most standards-compliant version of IE yet, but also as one that can stand up and compete on features and looks with Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and the Opera browser. Few interesting features of IE9 stands as follows:
Stripped-down and sleek design: The new IE has eliminated most of the menus, buttons and even search fields. Even Google Chrome and Firefox are doing the same for their browsers. The increased size of Back button compared to the Forward one, resembles Firefox. The sleek design of IE9 definitely makes the browsing experience clutter-free and easier for the users.
OneBox search: The users can now search from the location bar itself. The best part of search is on-the-fly searching where you can see relevant list of Web results, bookmarks, and browsing history, while typing the keywords itself. Of course, this may seem similar to Chrome, but the “search suggestions” option which shares your search keywords with search services, is turned off by default.
Pinned sites: IE9 and Win 7 desktop have been tightly integrated. Using the new “Pinned sites” feature users can “Pin” their favorite sites on the Win 7 desktop task bar as they do for applications. The best part is that users can also see AeroSnap preview as well as site-specific JumpLists. A new trend in website coding is introduced here called as Pinned integration so that users can also get unread e-mail notifications and streaming media player controls for the pinned sites. Already major sites like CNN, Pandora, Facebook, Twitter, Huffington post, eBay, Groupon, etc., have integrated this in their site’s code.
Separate row tabs: When you choose Show Tabs on a Separate Row option, the tabs will move below the location bar.
New location for notifications: Notifications, like pop-up blocker or session recovery warnings, are moved to bottom of the page. This will not disturb the user while he is browsing by grabbing his focus away from the web page.
Enhanced HTML5 support: The HTML5 support from IE9 has been moved to GPU instead of CPU, which makes it easier to run richer video, audio and graphics without affecting the systems performance.
More Web Standards Compliant: Microsoft has also announced that IE9 is the most standards compliant ever, with full support for industry standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and SVG1.1.
Tab Sandbox: The tab sandbox prevents a crashed individual tab from crashing the entire browser.
New Tab Page: A new tab page which contains list of all the user’s frequently visited sites is another major feature. The list is displayed in tiles, with a favicon and title of the web pages. This tab also contains list of recently closed tabs, previous browsing session and an activity meter through which you can track your browsing habits.
Add-on performance notification: This feature is unique for IE9 which tracks add-ons performance and reports the user if any of them is impacting the browser’s performance.
Do not track feature: When we talk about enhanced security in IE9, the do-not-track feature is the major one which lets users to opt out of sharing their browsing habits with websites. This is in compliant with Federal Trade Commission’s proposed “do not track” list. This feature can also be found in Firefox 4. However, “Which? Computing “reports that it found a flaw with anti-tracking feature working with the TPLs (tracking protection list), which didn’t seem to be critical.
ActiveX Filtering: IE9 gives complete control over ActiveX filtering for the users, allowing them to choose sites that they trust to access information to create interactive features when they surf the web.
Integration between SmartScreen Filter and Download Manager: This feature makes sure that users are downloading files from a trusted source and the files do not contain viruses or malware. The IE9’s SmartScreen filtering has fared well in a recent NSS labs testing.
Independent tabs: Each of the tabs function independent to each other. So, if a tab hangs due to any malfunctioning web page, you can still continue browsing on other tabs.
Independent pinned sites browser: The pinned sites are given their own browser session, independent of the desktop browser. This browser session will open without any browser helper objects (BHO) or add-on toolbars that runs in regular desktop browser, minimizing the risks of exploits.
With these added features, few unique and few copied from the competitors, Microsoft hopefully is trying to regain its lost browser market share.