Internet Explorer 9 at a glance

Which browser has been your go-to these past few years? Google Chrome? Mozilla Firefox? We can’t imagine that, for many of the tech-savvy IT users out there, the quick answer would be Internet Explorer. But thanks to Internet Explorer 9 that might be set to shift.

Previous versions of Internet Explorer have felt decidedly rudimentary next to the aforementioned browsers of choice, but IE9 could blow them out of the water in one important area – speed.  Using their fun and visually explosive fish test to measure the speed of various browsers, it appears that IE9 is streets ahead of its competitors. Unsurprisingly, this will come at the cost of your battery life, but another nifty feature of running IE9 on a Windows machine is that it will be able to read the power settings of your machine and adjust its processing power accordingly. It also has a useful plug-in called Performance Advisor that analyses the usage of all the sites you have open and reports back which ones are affecting speed and performance the most.

But what about visuals? Old versions of IE didn’t measure up to the sleekness of Chrome, but the new version certainly takes steps to address this, including the popular tab feature of Chrome and the latest version of Firefox, as well as a popular sites grid on the start page – again, very Chrome. It also has the added feature of ‘pinning’ favourite websites to the start-up taskbar; more fiddly than it sounds in practise but a useful feature, and the pinned sites launch in their own window as opposed to a new tab. The address bar also doubles as a search box, searching your browser history as you type to display the most likely results.

IE9 also has a host of new features designed to dispel recent fears regarding browser security. A new feature called Application Reputation assesses the risk of unfamiliar sites based on previous ratings by other users, and only shows you a warning if it deems there to be one based on the ratings it has found. It also has an application to block third party tracking, and can detect malicious code in vulnerable existing website code. Its download manager is also designed to protect against phishing sites and protects you from harmful downloads.

 Reading this list of features you might think that IE9 has done plenty to catch up with Chrome, but not a lot to pass it. It’s true – Chrome still has the monolopy on usability, as well as the added advantage of add-ins to customise and improve individual user experiences, something IE9 is notably lacking. But for added speed and a positive step towards modernity and usability this is a giant step for Internet Explorer and paves the way for fresh innovation with the imminent launch of IE10, possibly to correspond with Windows 8.

Which browser do you use, and why?

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