Right on schedule, Microsoft has made the long-awaited Internet Explorer 9 beta available for download. The new version of Microsoft's popular browser offers support for the most cutting-edge Web technologies, a new look but familiar feel, and an overall faster browsing experience.
Much has been said about Internet Explorer's shift from leading browser innovation and market share, to playing second fiddle to Firefox. But Internet Explorer 9 looks to be ready to change things.
As we saw in the developer preview versions, support for HTML5 is the primary focus of IE9, but there is actually quite a bit more for users to put their hands on than support for new Web technology.
The URL and search fields have been unified into a single actionable bar, browser tabs are now "folder style" as they are in some third party browsers, and favorites can now be pinned to the Windows 7 taskbar as if they were applications. This feature alone has been turning heads, as it shows the forward-thinking nature of the browser's design. It's no longer looking at websites as something that live within the browser, but applications in themselves.