Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate Now Available For Download

The final version of IE9 is almost ready. So Microsoft freed the browser's Release Candidate version to the wild today in order to shake out the last of the bugs. Ed Bott at ZDNet has been using the latest version for a while and offered up some detailed thoughts on the browser. The bottom line is that IE9 is even more "refined" and speedy than the beta version and both Chrome and Firefox should look out.

The good news is that Internet Explorer's developers have clearly been listening to their customers and studying the browser market for both trends to duplicate and improvements to make. The biggest ones are in speed and performance. Bott found that the browser used far fewer resources than IE8 and matched Chrome's low memory usage.

Web designers and developers will be happy with the browser's increased compatibility with web standards. Regular users will benefit from increased privacy/security features and Active X controls that allow for Flash element blocking.

My personal favorite is the pinning ability for Windows 7—now users can pin not only single websites to the task bar, but multiple sites in one pin. This opens up some possibilities for developers, too. The example on ZDNet shows how an Amazon Associate can keep all the front- and back-end pages they need in one icon for easy access (shown at right).

There's a lot more to IE9. Check out Ed Bott's piece or download the browser for yourself. You'll be able to try it alongside your current IE version and uninstall easily if it doesn't suit you. Unfortunately, Windows XP users won't get the benefits of this new hotness, as it's for Vista and 7 operating systems only.

Are these and other improvements likely to bring you back into Internet explorer's fold? Or are you too burned by past mistakes to ever deal with Microsoft's browser again?

Image Credit: ZDNet