Microsoft Launches IE9 Release Candidate
SAN FRANCISCO—Here at a gallery in downtown San Francisco, Microsoft has just launched the release candidate (RC) version of its next Web browser, Internet Explorer 9. The release candidate will be the last step before final release to the Web, said a Microsoft representative, who gave no indication of when that would happen. The browser has been in public beta testing since last September, and since last March available as a bare-bones “Platform Preview” of its underlying technology.
“The Platform Previews represented a new level of transparency in the development process for us,” Ryan Gavin, Microsoft’s senior director of Internet Explorer, said in a pre-briefing with PCMag. “That open and transparent approach has really reshaped how we built IE9. It was the highest quality beta that we’ve ever had. We had over 17,000 pieces of feedback, which is more than all of the feedback we got in the entire development life cycle of IE8.”
New in the release candidate are a previously announced Tracking Protection feature, some user interface tweaks, more support for the emerging HTML5 Web standard, and even faster performance on standard benchmarks. The browser innovated in at least one aspect of performance—using hardware accelerated graphics. In order to achieve this optimization, the software only runs on Windows 7 and Vista.
Microsoft also announced four partners for its Tracking Protection system: Abine, TRUSTe, PrivacyChoice, and AdBlock Plus. These firms will provide lists of sites that plant small tracking code on many other web sites to profile users’ site history and habits. The Tracking Protection feature in IE9 will allow users to block this snooping by either using one of these lists or automatically determining the offending Web domains. The feature is in response to the FTC’s call for a Web equivalent to the Do Not Call list that addresses telemarketer harassment. Users are also able to allow individual tracking sites if they find them useful; some people may prefer the relevant Web advertising these enable.
IE9 Release Candidate Launch
In a Windows 7-centric feature that will be of interest to commercial Web site developers, IE9 RC now lets sites display buttons on their pages that will automatically create a “Pinned Site” icon. These icons give sites application status, by placing a permanent icon in the user’s tast bar for launching, and even customize the browser with the site’s logo and color theme.
To download and try the Release Candidate out for yourself, point your browser to BeautyOfTheWeb.com or IETestDrive.com, where there are also many demonstrations of IE9’s hardware acceleration and HTML5 support.
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