The Russian press site of software giant Microsoft may have gotten a little overzealous today and posted a screen shot showing off the new UI for Internet Explorer 9. The preview builds have this far shown no evolution of the interface, but everyone was expecting some big changes come the beta. Immediately after the image was posted, it was pulled back down, but ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley managed to grab the image first.
What we're looking at here is a vastly different look for Microsoft's browser. Frankly, that's a good start as IE8 was starting to look ancient compared to other browsers. The window is much more minimalist. Toward the left there are back and forward buttons, then immediately to the right is a unified Search/URL bar. As we continue across the top of the window, we come upon the tab area, which is on the same level as the URL bar. We can assume this area will dynamically shrink the Search/URL bar as more tabs are open. It could get cluttered, but will offer more space for the web page.
There really isn't much more to the interface. The Home, Favorites, and Menu icons are over on the right, much like Chrome. The top of the window has the Windows Aero glass effect going on, also like Chrome. The Russian site also mentions "tear off tabs" which will be an extension of Aero Snap for viewing tabs in a split screen view. We're very interested to see how this browser looks when the bets is finally released. Sources have previously stated that should happen in September. What are your thoughts about the new Internet Explorer UI?
The day is almost at hand folks, Microsoft has just made it known that the first beta for the upcoming Internet Explorer 9 will be available on September 15. There will be a lunch event on that day where developers will show off "the beauty of the web." Well, eye-rolling tag lines aside, it will be interesting to see if Microsoft can manage to put out a solid browser after previously faltering.
Internet Explorer 9 has been made available as a developer preview since March. In the intervening months, the browser has sped up, and become more standards compliant. Microsoft is building in support for the HTML5 web standard as well. The UI of the preview builds has not been that of the final build. We're hoping for Microsoft to really knock our socks off with a new and innovative design. We should find out on September 15. What would it take for you to get back on Microsoft's browser?
The UI changes are the most noticeable to users. The color scheme has been made more metallic, and less blue. The stop/refresh button has been removed from the end of the address bar, and given its own spot at the left of the interface. The options have been condensed to one button as well. These changes make more space for extension icons.
We're not under any illusion that people refrain from running ad blocking extensions in their browsers (though we do hope your favorite technology site is on the whitelist). The Chrome Adblock extension (which many of you probably use) has added a new trick that brings it up to par with the Firefox Adblock Plus extension. It can now block ads from loading at all, not just remove them from the rendered page. In doing so, Adblock developer Michael Gundlach has made known a feature that only recently found its way into Chrome.
The so-called "beforeload" event was added to the Webkit trunk, and eventually made its way into Chrome. It was not contributed to Webkit by Google, but By Apple, who uses the same engine for their Safari browser. Googler Aaron Boodman said of the situation, "Thank Apple. They added it to WebKit. We just inherited it." Boodman also has pushed for the open Chromium project to allow better blocking options in the name of privacy.
So Chrome users can't say Apple never did anything for them anymore. Do you run an Adblocker in Chrome? Have you noticed a difference
The first beta for Firefox 4 was released yesterday, and brought with it a host of new features. One thing we were hoping for was a significant speed boost that would bring the popular open source browser up to parity with the likes of Chrome and Safari 5. Well, keeping in mind that this is a beta, things aren't looking great in the speed department.
A benchmark of the browser with Dromaeo and Peacekeeper show that Firefox 4 is a modest improvement over Firefox 3.6, but it still can't touch Chrome or Safari. Both Safari and Chrome have been iterating their software very fast, and it's possible the Mozilla Foundation just can't keep up. Firefox has a notoriously long release cycle.
We hold out hope that the development team have some tricks up their sleeve for the final release. It would be nice to see Firefox come back after seeming to fall behind. Are you a Firefox user, or have you moved to Chrome/Safari?
Google is preparing to add a new type of hardware awareness to the Chrome browser. The browser will soon be able to use accelerometer data to keep track of which way is up, and rotate the interface. Thus Google gets one step closer to making the browser an operating system.
It's not just fitting content to device orientation that can be of use here. Web-based apps and games could also poll the accelerometer as a method of control. Mozilla started to work on this in 2009, and expects to roll it out in Firefox 3.6.
Google is spending heavily on their browser software, which will be the underlying framework of the upcoming Chrome OS. Are there any other uses of orientation awareness in browsers you'd like to see implemented?
Google recently updated Chrome with the ability to automatically update the Adobe Flash plug-in. In an upcoming revision, Google's browser will gain power over other plug-ins as well. The out of date plug-ins will be blocked from working, while also offering the option to assist the user in updating them. Vulnerabilities in plug-ins are one of the most often exploited security issues.
The search giant did not have an approximate date users could expect to see the feature added. The browser will also eventually have the ability to determine when a plug-in is being run under suspicious circumstances. When a plug-in is rarely used, it's activation could be a sign of malicious behavior. Chrome could be able to take not of this and notify the user.
Chrome has a beta and developer build channel, so we're likely to get some warning before this feature hits the majority of users. The changes don't sound too intrusive, and we like the idea of all our plug-ins being kept up to date automatically.
Google and Adobe are getting along swimmingly these days. In the mobile space, Android is the only platform that currently has full Flash support, and now Google's desktop browser has the Flash Player built in. The newest stable version of Chrome 5.0.376.86 has Adobe Flash by default. This feature was present in the beta and developer channels at various times recently, but now it is rolled out everywhere.
Many developers and consumers feel Flash is too resource intensive, and should be replaced by HTML5 standards. Interestingly, Google is one company pushing HTML5 quite hard. It seems they are willing to support multiple standards for the benefit of users who, like it or not, need to use Flash content from time to time.
Users who don't want the plug-in for whatever reason can disable it. Type about:plugins into the address bar and hit enter. From this page, you can turn off Flash, or any other plug-ins you don't want.
Apple launched their own site to show off the cool stuff one can do with HTML5 earlier this month. The only problem was that the demos would only work in Apple's Safari browser. In response, Google is opening its own HTML5 showcase called HTML5Rocks. As far as names go, you can't deny the honesty it shows. Google loved HTML5, and they want you to love it too.
The HTML5Rocks site has nine different tutorials on HTML5, and a feature where you can write your own code to test. The whole affair works well in Chrome, but it also works in Safari. The undertone being a slight jab at Apple's notorious closed nature.
Head on over and check it out. It doesn't have the flashiness of Apple's demos, it's more of a tool to get developers interested in HTML5. MTML5Rocks presents HTML5 features in a more educational way really.We found it quite informative.