Microsoft on June 26 rolled out a preview build of Internet Explorer 11, the latest iteration in the company’s venerable browser that is designed to go along with the newly released Windows 8.1 preview.
What this essentially means is the programs are in beta and, therefore, shouldn’t be considered the final versions. Still, when Microsoft offers up preview builds to the public, it’s a clear sign that what’s available in that beta option will be very similar to the final release.
Given that, it’s a good idea to think about Internet Explorer 11 now and consider the ways in which the operating system will interact with those who are using Windows 8.1. Internet Explorer 11 comes with a wide array of improvements, and for some, they might be enough to get them to once again think seriously about using Microsoft’s browser.
Read on to find out what everyone should know about Internet Explorer 11 now that it’s available in preview mode.
1. It’ll be faster
Microsoft designed Internet Explorer 11 to adhere to the latest Web standards. The browser is capable of loading Web pages far faster than its predecessors. Exactly how fast is unknown at this point, but it shouldn’t be long before it’s benchmarked.
2. It will work across devices
Microsoft made the decision to make Internet Explorer 11 a highly versatile browser that’s designed to work on any device on which consumer or enterprise customers install it. So whether it’s a tablet or a PC, expect Internet Explorer 11 to work just fine.
3. A side-by-side view for sites
Here’s an interesting addition: Microsoft has bundled a side-by-side view in Internet Explorer 11 that enables users to browse two sites at the same time and have all the functionality one would expect in a single-window view. It should be interesting to see if that makes users more productive while surfing the Web.
4. Skype integration, of course
Not surprisingly, Microsoft has bundled Skype into Internet Explorer 11. So when users find phone numbers on a site, they can simply click on them and Skype will place the call automatically. It looks like Microsoft is getting all it can out of its Skype purchase.
Microsoft Makes Internet Explorer 11 Touch-Capable for a Mobile World
5. Full touch functionality
Internet Explorer 11 is also fully optimized for touch-screen use. With that functionality, users can pan and zoom in on a page, as well as use gestures to go back to a previously viewed site. A forward swipe will deliver users to a new site. The touch functionality is a nice addition.
6. Who needs all those tabs?
Don’t worry about running out of tabs on Internet Explorer 11: Each and every window opened is capable of handling 100 tabs. In other words, users will never run into a limit on open tabs.
7. A nice look at favorites
Favorites have long been a key component in browsers and with Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft has tried to update that concept by allowing for users to view their favorite photos in a live tile-like setup. In other words, the company’s Favorites menu is taking on the look and feel of Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Will that be a good thing?
8. Full HTML5 video support is included
Microsoft hasn’t always been the most willing to accept open Web standards. However, in Internet Explorer 11, the company will fully support HTML5 video without the need for additional plug-ins. That might not seem like a major advance to those who have been using Chrome and Firefox, but for Internet Explorer users, that’s a big deal.
9. Enhanced Web graphics handling
Furthermore, Microsoft announced that its browser will do a much better job of handling Web graphics. Thanks to that enhancement, the videos and games that users run in the browser should work more smoothly and deliver an all-around better experience.
10. A new-look app to emerge?
Microsoft has enhanced by a wide margin the company’s Web application developer tools. By doing so, developers can create a live tile-like view of their Web pages. Each tile can also tie in particular new content from their sites. It’s not clear how that’ll be implemented just yet, but if done correctly, it might come in handy for some uses.