On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 as a public beta download. According to Microsoft’s Dean Hachamovitch, IE9’s purpose is “to put the focus back on websites.” The Microsoft press release boasts of a cleaner user interface which is supposed to show users the true beauty of the website and then fade into the background.
This browser is meant for a computer with the Windows 7 operating system. In fact, it will not work at all on Windows XP. If your computer has Windows 7, you can use this new browser to link your favorite websites to the Windows 7 toolbar. This means that on Windows 7 you can quickly access your favorite content and perform everyday tasks like sending e-mails without ever opening the browser. I don’t always understand the technical lingo, but I can tell you how this program works for our family.
Our family downloaded IE9 despite the fact that we have been happily using Firefox and Google Chrome for some time. We have Windows Vista, so we cannot utilize the features that are unique to Windows 7. All the same, IE9 does seem compatible with Windows Vista. I can still browse the web, and that is what I wanted to do anyway.
I really like the new minimalist look of IE9. The address bar is on the same level with any tabs that you open. There are also three icons for home, history, and tools on the same level. If you click on the tool icon, your file toolbar will appear in a drop down menu, then disappear when you no longer need it. This takes up very little of your screen, making your computer screen seem even bigger. When I went to my homepage, nearly all of the news was visible without ever scrolling down.
Something that is very useful about the new IE is the way the tabs work. My husband likes to have only one Browser window open, with several different websites open on different tabs. I get the tabs confused, so I like to have a lot of separate windows open. With Internet Explorer 9, users can pull the tabs in and out of one window and into another. This also means that reorganizing your tabs is possible. I still like to have separate windows open, but I did find it helpful that IE9 will color-code your tabs. All tabs are see-through, but tabs will be grouped together if they are related.
For example, if you have Associated Content open, and click on a link from there that opens a new tab, those tabs will be grouped. You will know they are related because they will have the same color tint (yellow, red, etc.).
The new Internet Explorer allows me to use the web the way that I want to. I can browse websites, watch videos, and send e-mails very easily. It loads much faster than prior incarnations. It’s nice to know that Microsoft can still design a browser that competes in the IT Market without being too complicated for an everyday user.