To bringing the browser one step closer to a final launch, Microsoft has released the Internet Explorer 9 Release Candidate (IE9 RC).
Microsoft released the IE9 Beta in September 2010, its “reinvention of the browser,” featuring updated compatibility with web standards like HTML5, an overhaul of the user interface and hardware acceleration for apps running within the browser.
Unlike the betas though, the IE9 Release Candidate is ready-to-ship code. This is the final test drive for Microsoft’s new browser, a chance to catch any last-minute bugs. After that, IE9 will have its official debut.
The tech giant is also touting new UI improvements from the Beta, including a focus on reducing unnecessary pixels. It has reduced the frame pixels by five since the Beta. The menu has also been updated with a menu bar toggle feature and a “paste and navigate” shortcut that lets you automatically perform a search or visit a web address based on what’s in your clipboard.
One big UI change users will notice is a change in tab layout. In the betas, tabs appeared on the right-hand side of the search bar, but IE9 RC includes an option to turn tabs into a separate row under the address bar. This is especially useful for those of us who multi-task constantly in the browser (we wish the tabs were on top, though).
Lastly, Microsoft has put the emphasis on security and privacy. It has enabled tracking protection (its version of the “Do Not Track” list), added a more robust ActiveX filter and SmartScreen malware protection for the download manager.
If you’re interested, you can download the IE release candidate.