Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Jun 11

Internet Explorer 9 (Yes, it still exists)

We are spoiled. We really truly are. I remember when I was first introduced to the internet in the 3rd grade; I’m pretty sure my entire school’s computer lab was connected to a single, feeble dialup line. I was forced to find new ways to bide my time while the next page from “The Encyclopedia Britannica Online” took ten minutes to load, only to have to click the “back” arrow and wait another ten.  On top of that, there was nothing good on the web. NOTHING. I wanted to go back to the Apple II lab and take another shot at The Oregon Trail (Never had enough time during lab to finish it).  I distinctly remember thinking, “Wow, the internet is kind of lame”, and it was. In my early teen years, I remember listening to my computer produce horrific alien-communication-esque noises while it strained (often in vain) to connect to the World Wide Web. When, by chance, it did find a way, downloading a song took hours and was often interrupted by an abrupt and unexpected “Goodbye!”

These days, we’re spoiled.

Today’s internet is fast, convenient, prolific, and full of useless, time consuming wonders for everyone to enjoy. All the while, web browsers are competing to be microseconds faster than the competition. Until recently, I thought that Internet Explorer had gone the way of the buffalo along with Netscape and AOL (Ironically, AOL bought out Netscape…good move guys). I mean, I knew that Internet Explorer (or IE as the cool kids call it) came on my computer and still technically existed, but I presumed everyone was using the obviously superior Firefox or Google Chrome or Safari…or anything else…browsers. That is, until I saw the new ad for Internet Explorer 9. From what they were telling me, IE was not only relatively alive and more or less “kicking”, but it was actually making some kind an attempt to be competitive! I downloaded it immediately check out the resurrection.

The biggest thing that IE seems to be pushing is how fast it is. By integrating JavaScript and using hardware-accelerated HTML 5 that works in harmony with Windows 7, IE has truly stepped up its game. It scored 95/100 on the acid3 test on my computer (Firefox did 94), and just surfing around I was really impressed by how quickly it started up and loaded pages. It could load a full page of Google images in just a few seconds, and breezed through loading pages for games.

The next moves I noticed were all about ease of use. For instance, IE allows users to pin their favorite websites to the taskbar at the bottom of their screen so they don’t have to open their browser first to get to them, saving a few precious seconds every time. It seems like a simple thing, but that’s exactly what it is: a simple, elegant, and intelligent web browsing experience (much like how Google Chrome displays a grid of your favorite sites when a new tab is opened – a move that IE9 picked up on [stole] quite nicely, along with the search/URL in one).  Another step towards convenience is the “reopen last session” operation. Personally, as a man who regularly has 10-15 tabs open, I like the ability to close it all down and reopen them again later without having to go back to each of them individually or leave my browser open.

The last major changes it seemed were aimed at making IE9 more safe and secure. First, they upgraded their “smartscreen” filter, which was introduced in IE8 and warns users of known malicious websites or downloads, helping them make smarter choices. Furthermore, they have added built-in tracking protection that reportedly blocks 99% of socially engineered malware.

In the end, I don’t know if IE9 is the best web browser out there, but I can say this it doesn’t have the best logo (sorry, but that goes to Firefox), and I can also say that I was pleasantly surprised and quite impressed by the advances they have made. Believe it or not, Internet Explorer is not only competitive, but emerging as a new innovative thinker in the world of web browsers. If you check out IE9 or already have, leave us a comment below and tell what you think about it and what you like (or don’t).

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