Microsoft officially launched the final release of Internet Explorer 9 this past Tuesday at midnight. IE9 represents Microsoft’s biggest browser overhaul in quite a while.
The Official Windows blog announced yesterday that that IE9 was downloaded 2.3 million times in the first 24 hours.
Sounds pretty impressive until you consider that back in 2008 when Mozilla released Firefox 3 they set an official Guinness World record for the “largest number of software downloads in 24 hours”. Over 8 million copies of Firefox 3 were downloaded within 24 hours of its official release.
Firefox (and Chrome) users are generally considered to be more “tech savvy” than IE users as a whole. So, while IE didn’t blow the roof off the joint with first day downloads, IE users aren’t necessarily thought of as “early adopters” so it’s possible that, as the word spreads IE9 could indeed help Microsoft take back some of that browser market share Firefox has been slowly chipping away at.
Chart via: W3Counter
What’s new in Internet Explorer 9
Firefox and Chrome have been using compliant web standards for years but IE has been notoriously lacking in that area which has given many a designer and developer a headache or two trying to develop and design a site that renders the same across multiple browsers.
A few of the top issues IE9 has promised to address are speed, usability, standard web compliance, lack of a download manager and general sluggishness compared to FF and Chrome.
Nine reasons to get Internet Explorer 9 according to Microsoft
- It’s all-around fast — hardware-accelerated text, video, and graphics speed up performance and make websites perform like programs that are installed on your computer.
- Streamlined and simplified design — gives you the basic controls you need and puts the focus on your websites.
- One-click access to your favorite sites — with Pinned Sites, you can get to your favorite sites directly from the Windows taskbar without having to open your browser first.
- A combined search and Address bar — one place to either navigate to a website or start a search.
- Redesigned New Tab page — now you have quick access to the sites you visit most often, and you can also reopen closed tabs or your last browsing session, or start an InPrivate Browsing session.
- Integration with Windows 7 — with Snap, Pinned Sites, Jump Lists, and thumbnail preview controls, Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 bring you the best web experience for Windows.
- Improved add-on management — Add-on Performance Advisor tells you if an add-on is slowing down your browser and allows you to disable or remove it, helping ensure that your browser stays fast over time.
- Helps control your privacy — Tracking Protection enables you to limit the browser’s communication with certain websites to help keep your information private.
- Keeps your downloads in order — Download Manager keeps a running list of the files you download from the Internet, notifies you if a file could be malicious, and allows you to pause and restart a download.
I tested it for a day or two and I will say there is a noticeable improvement in speed and general responsiveness. I don’t like the tabs pushed all the way over to the right of the address bar although there is a way to change that default in the settings.
I also didn’t care for their implementation of the bookmarks toolbar, it looks like it was just slapped on there last minute and looks totally out of place. My regular, everyday browser is Chrome which, in my opinion, is an almost perfect mixture of minimalism, great UX/UI, speed and fantastic extensions that work flawlessly as an extension of the browser itself so the bar was set pretty high for IE9. Needless to say as much of an improvement IE9 is over previous versions I’m back to using Chrome, although I will check out IE from time to time to see what, if any changes/improvements they make over the next few months based on feedback from users.
What do you guys think? Do any of you use IE as your primary browser? If so, have you downloaded IE9 and what did you think of all the new features?