Russian leak said to reveal Internet Explorer 9 user interface

Thursday, August 26, 2010, 19:21 by Tech Correspondent

A screenshot from Microsoft Russia’s press site reveals what might be the look of IE9.

Microsoft Russia’s press website has reportedly leaked the visual interface for the upcoming Internet Explorer 9 browser, developer previews of which have been seen since March.

If a screenshot of the alleged look and feel of IE9 captured by ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley is to be believed, Microsoft’s latest browser will be significantly different from Internet Explorer 8 – in terms of stripping down distracting elements in the current browser version.

The screenshot reveals that IE9 will apparently have a combined search and location bar, similar to Google Chrome.

IE9 screenshot

Pic: Screenshot grabbed by ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley shows what might be the IE9 interface

Image courtesy Zdnet

A “tear-off tabs” feature in Internet Explorer 9 will reportedly allow the tabs to be pulled out into separate windows, something which Firefox and Chrome already offer. IE9 will also let users “pin” recognized or protected Web sites directly onto their taskbar, Foley said after running the Russian site’s text (which has since been taken down) through Bing’s Translator. This basically allows users to click on these “pinned” Web sites and open them directly, without having to open a browser first.

Internet Explorer 9 will supposedly sport just three navigation buttons – Home (probably linked to other submenus and the bookmark manager), Back and Forward. The screenshot indicates that the Back button will likely be noticeably larger than the Forward one, like in the case of Firefox 4.

Another addition to the features list of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 9 is believed to be “quick release tabs”, which leverages the Aero UI of Windows Vista and Windows 7. This functionality apparently enables users to drag the browser window to the side of the screen, where the window “snaps” into two tabs in equal-sized adjacent frames.

The Internet Explorer 9 will run only on Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems, if reports are to be believed.

IE9′s biggest supposed difference from Firefox and Chrome is the placement of tabs next to, instead of above, the address bar. There is also a few pixels of empty browser chrome above the search / address bar – something which Chrome has removed but Firefox still holds on to.

If all of this turns out to be true, then Microsoft’s latest browser will underscore the ongoing larger trend of a homogenization of web browsers, wherein most developers (including Chrome and Mozilla) are now aiming to go clutter-free and leave more vertical space in the browser for the website being viewed.

A beta version of the Internet Explorer 9 is scheduled to be launched in San Francisco by Microsoft on September 15.

While the software behemoth has yet to disclose a final ship date, some have speculated that an April 2011 release is possible – coinciding with MIX, Microsoft’s annual Web conference, which will be held from April 12-14 in Las Vegas.

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