Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
AOL Tech

Internet Explorer 9 Competes With Chrome in Speed, Design

Internet Explorer 9
Microsoft will officially launch Internet Explorer 9 later today, and it looks to be the most significant update the browser has seen since the jump from IE6 to IE7. Users will immediately notice the cosmetic changes that takes the trendy "less is more" design ethos to almost fundamentalist extremes. IE9 trims even more fat from the interface than its quite spartan competitor Google Chrome. The OneBox (Microsoft's combination search box and address bar), the tab bar and the navigation buttons have all been condensed to a single row, and the status bar is long gone, making IE as unobtrusive as possible, which leaves plenty of space to display the contents of a website.

Users can also drag favicons from the OneBox to the taskbar in order to create pinned site shortcuts. These glorified bookmarks display the page icon in your taskbar (instead of the standard IE icon), and some sites even offer app-style pages that can support Windows 7 jumplists. Treating sites more like apps is an integral part of IE's modernization strategy, but, unlike Chrome (which can also create single-site shortcuts), IE doesn't further strip away interface elements in "app" mode. The eBay "app" will still display in the admittedly minimal, standard IE9 interface, whereas creating an "app" in Chrome removes all trace of the browser except the title bar.

Internet Explorer 9

Most importantly, though, is the improved speed, support for technologies like HTML5 and the more standards-compliant rendering engine. What was the slowest beast in the browser market is now a serious competitor in terms of raw speed. In fact, at least by some measures, it's faster than the current king Chrome. The addition of hardware-accelerated rendering will also lead to improved video playback, and will enable rich 3-D graphics in the browser.

Once it launches, we'll be giving IE9 a serious hands-on, and come back with a final judgement, but, for the first time since the days of Netscape vs. IE, we're actually kind of excited by what Microsoft is bringing to the browser market.

Update: Internet Explorer 9 is up and out for download! Get it here.

Tags: chrome, google chrome, GoogleChrome, IE, ie9, internet explorer, internet explorer 9, InternetExplorer, InternetExplorer9, microsoft, top