Microsoft Unleashes Internet Explorer 9 Beta


Primarily, Microsoft's redesigned IE9 browser comes with a simpler, sleeker user interface that displays fewer buttons and toolbars than previous versions, while giving traditional Web sites the appearance of Web applications.

Microsoft also has added some new features to its flagship browser that put it on par with competing browser Google Chrome and others. Namely, the new IE9 combines the address and search boxes into a single box, called a "onebox," used comprehensively for searches, Web addresses and search history.

The new browser also promises greater integration with newer Windows software and operating systems -- particularly Windows 7 -- by allowing users to embed their favorite applications into the taskbar at the bottom of the screen for an expedited retrieval. IE9 also enables users to customize their own option menu for each program.

IE9 enables users to "pin" individual Web sites to the taskbar, and some have already created their own jumplist menus. If users drag the mouse over the pinned site, they can benefit from direct integration with social networking sites or other applications.

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Microsoft touted improved speeds for its new IE9, which rely upon the PCs graphics processing unit that accelerates the viewing of images, videos and other media files.

In addition to Windows 7, IE9 runs on Windows Vista but not on older versions of Windows XP, underscoring Microsoft's suggestion that users migrate to Microsoft's newer operating systems.

Microsoft said some of the most popular Web sites, such as, Facebook and Twitter, are designed to take advantage of the new IE9.

The release of IE9 beta, which was exhibited Wednesday at a Microsoft event in San Francisco, comes as competition for Web space heats up. While IE once held the vast majority of the browser market, it has in recent years lost market share to competitors Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome, which tout ease of use and greater security.