Microsoft's Russian website today revealed details about the new Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) user interface, touting new features such as quick-release tabs and a Chrome-like address-cum-search bar.
[ InfoWorld's Test Center has a breakdown on which browser is best for you, depending on your needs and tasks. | Discover what's new in business applications with InfoWorld's Technology: Applications newsletter and Killer Apps blog. ]
IE9's user interface will look a lot like Google's Chrome if Microsoft Russia's site is accurate.
Until today, Microsoft had kept quiet about IE9's look and feel.
Microsoft Russia's press site published a screenshot of and additional information about IE9. The page has since been pulled, but as of noon today, remained available in Bing.com's cache.
ZDNet blogger Mary Jo Foley reported on the IE9 details earlier today.
The IE9 interface shown in the screenshot sported a Firefox-esque design to the Back/Forward buttons -- the former is larger than the latter -- dispensed with traditional menus, put tabs atop the browser window, and combined the address and search bars, a move taken from Chrome's playbook.
At the far right, IE9 displays a trio of icons -- one is clearly Home -- that likely lead to more menus and the browser's bookmark manager.
The text on the page supported the hints provided by the screenshot that Microsoft will "Chromify" IE9's interface by mimicking that browser's UI.
"Your browser is not overloaded with navigation elements, and compared with other browsers leaves more space for the site," a machine translation of the promotional copy read. "Now the user sees only what is necessary for navigation."
The changes shouldn't come as a surprise. Other browser makers, notably No. 2 Mozilla, have headed in that direction, too, as they follow the lead of Google and its cleaner-composed Chrome. Mozilla's next major upgrade, Firefox 4, will feature tabs on top and will eliminate the traditional Windows menus above the browser's content area, two features popularized by Chrome.
IE9's marketing material also described a way to pin sites to the taskbar -- much like a local application -- by dragging a tab to the Windows taskbar. Those sites can then be accessed with a single click without first having to open IE9. "Anchored sites are seamlessly integrated into [the] navigation system [of] Windows 7," the copy said. "Thus, the work of such sites [is] as simple and familiar as with other Windows applications."