Well when you load it you’ll notice straightaway that Microsoft have installed it with a minimalistic look. Microsoft have latched onto the less is more and lets keep it simple for the novice or first time user. But don’t worry if you’re a seasoned user, you can still make it look and work the way that its predecessor did. In fact you can fiddle about with the position of tabs and menus, although I have to question the value of this and I wonder if it’s just a gimmick. The simplicity is a nice touch however; and one might argue that they’ve made no attempt to hide the fact that they’ve simply copied the other browsers in the market that have done this for years.
Another feature you’ll recognise is that they’ve copied Google Chrome with application style containers to make a web page look like a locally installed application. Actually, they’ve gone one step further and integrated these with Windows, which is something only Microsoft can do as the other vendors can’t inject new functionality into the operating system. The giveaway here is the Operating system upgrade message you see when IE9 asks you to reboot your system to complete the install. That said I actually like some of this embedded functionality and I can see this being very useful.
You’ll also find they’ve introduced Safariesque “most popular sites” navigation page and they’ve embedded search within the URL field… again first seen in Google Chrome.
Microsoft also claim IE9 to be their fastest browser, despite seeing a popup suggesting you disable plugins to speed up browsing (I don’t have any), I’ve not noticed any real difference in performance so far.
I’m still left with the question … does Internet Explorer 9 offer anything new? or is it simply an attempt to replicate and consolidate the functionality of its competitors, you tell me?