Microsoft is breaking its trend of tying browser and OS releases, and today we have a final release of Internet Explorer 9, while there are mere whiffs of Windows 8 in sight.
It has been two years since the launch of Internet Explorer 8, and since then the browser landscape has changed significantly, especially thanks to Google Chrome than has gone from pre version 1 beta to its current 10th release, and from zero user base to over 10% in this duration.
Microsoft's latest release has come perhaps quite a bit slower than those of other browsers, however the IE8 to IE9 upgrade is as significant as the journey Google Chrome has taken since its beta days.
Besides the support for web standards, IE9 now reduces its UI chrome to the extent that the tabs and addressbar are now on the same line. Tabs can now be dragged between windows and out of windows just like Google Chrome. In face tabs can be dragged and dropped right onto the Windows 7 taskbar, where they will automatically be pinned as web applications, with their own icon and jumplist icons — if you are using IE9 you can do that with our site to check it out!
Internet Explorer also includes hardware acceleration, allowing for a richer and smoother media experience in the browser as it is all rendered by the GPU instead of the CPU. The latest version of Flash Player for IE also takes advantage of this feature to offer an enhanced experience in Flash Player as well.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]A do-not-track feature is also included in IE9 to indicate to websites and ad provides that they do not wish to be tracked. This feature is also coming with Firefox 4 and is available as an extension for Google Chrome.
Is Internet Explorer 9 perfect? Does it support all the latest features of HTML (and related technologies)? No, but it is a significant step in the right direction, especially if Microsoft intends to ramp up its IE release cycle, whether with an IE 9.1 soon, or an IE10 sooner than 2 years from now.
You can download Internet Explorer 9 from the Microsoft website.