The beta for Internet Explorer 9 was officially released this morning during a press conference. This streamlined version has a better user experience and is far faster than any previous iteration of the application. With this release, Microsoft is asking us to “unlock the beauty of the web.” The team in Redmond feels that a browser should be focusing on a Web site — not the browser used to access it. IE 9 contains a lot of design changes and new features to make visiting Web sites an efficient process.
The new streamlined user interface features minimalized focus on the Home, Favorites and Settings menu buttons. They aren’t right in your face and larger-than-life anymore. There is a new position for Tabs and a new design for the URL bar. The speed is a drastic improvement, making it a competitor to other browsers once again.
The scrolling feature is a much smoother experience than in previous versions, assisted by new hardware acceleration. There is better Flash and HTML 5 integration. You will find that you now have the ability to easily see which add-ons might be slowing down the browser as it launches. There’s also a download manager to warn you if the code you’re trying to nab is potentially malicious.
Keep in mind that IE 9 will only work on Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you’re still using XP, you’re out of luck and unable to experience the actual goodness that we’re seeing out of the Microsoft camp today.
Thanks to Matthew for this excellent screencast and first peek at Internet Explorer 9.