Posts Tagged ‘SXSW’

Microsoft Internet Explorer 9: A Google Chrome User’s Experience & Review

March 15, 2011 8 comments

This post is being written using Microsoft Internet Explorer 9 (IE9). I downloaded it last night when the full version became generally available to all as a full release during? after? its launch party at SXSW last night. Honestly, though I have been a Google Chrome user since pretty much the day it came out. Before that, I was a Mozilla Firefox user as Internet Explorer (IE) just wasn’t as good as the other browsers available. So when they had the launch party and I read about the it being available for download I didn’t really pay much attention to it.

However, all that changed when my friend Joseph aka @jpuopolo told me that the new IE9 is super FAST and I should really give it a try. He had been using it since it was available for download and said that he is going to be using it for a one week trial period to see if he will make the switch to it. He said in his mind so far so good and most importantly it’s UBER SPEEDY so I decided to give it a try. I My comparisons in this post and experiences in this post are using IE9 9.0.8112.16421 64-Bit and Google Chrome 10.0.648.133 both running on Windows 7 Home Premium.

NOTE: I have not changed my default browser settings on my computer. I didn’t know if I was going to and as the testing went on I decided definitely against it. Similarly, although IE9 has the same option as Google Chrome to make different websites into ‘apps’ within the Windows taskbar with their own icons I didn’t bother switching those over and just left them as Google Chrome ‘apps’.

For everyone who wants to know what my verdict is without reading my full thoughts: As of the writing of this post I’m going to stick with Chrome. IE9 is a definite improvement from previous versions of IE but it isn’t enough to get me to switch.


Installation was pretty painless. I went (using Chrome and feeling like a traitor) to and clicked on the link which took me to the IE9 Download Page and I downloaded IE9. Once it was finished downloading and began its install it told me it needed to shut down EVERY OTHER PROGRAM that was running on my computer because apparently it is integrated with Windows that deeply. I made sure I had left nothing open which wasn’t already saved and complied (first grumbling in a tweet for having to turn off every program) then waited for it to install. Once it was done installing it told me it needed to reboot Windows. I allowed it to reboot Windows and watched Windows shut down, inform me it was making changes/updates, turn off, my computer to turn back on, begin the boot sequence into Windows, Windows to inform me it had to make some more changes/updates before booting and then was finally presented with my usual login screen.

That whole process was not quite a strike against IE9 because I can understand why it happens but it didn’t earn any points in my books. I would have liked a warning about the reboot and maybe I would have chosen to do the install later, but then again there MAY have been one and I ignored/missed it.

The look and feel of IE9 is so-so. It is definitely better than previous versions of IE giving the user the option of having the “Status Bar” (the little bar at the bottom of the screen that displays links and other information) always showing or merely floating and appearing when necessary much like Chrome does. As to the top bar – I have read on other blogs that they think the top bar takes up a couple LESS pixels than Chrome’s but I disagree. You can judge for yourself in the picture below which one is bigger, but when I loaded the same page in IE9 & Chrome all I gained was an extra line of text and some white space at the bottom so however it does it Chrome is displaying marginally more on one screen than IE9.

(You can click the picture to view it in full size – 1920 pixels wide – & really judge for yourself. These top bars are taken from IE9 {top} and Google Chrome {bottom}. My screen this screenshot was taken on is 1920 pixels wide and these are unchanged from that resolution.)

Personally, I still like the Chrome top bar better but that could also be because I am used to it. I am given to understand that the reason Microsoft chose to leave all that space on top is so users can easily use the “Snap” feature of Windows 7 with the individual tabs. Quite frankly, I don’t care – as a Chrome user, I see all that space on top as WASTED. I think they should have given us the option to move everything so it is more compact. You can move the tabs below the Address Bar (now called the ‘One Bar’ but we’ll get to that) and take up more room but you can’t make it so it takes up less screen real estate. At the end of the day, in my books, the name of the game is SCREEN REAL ESTATE and Microsoft wasted way too much of mine in IE9.

In terms of the size of the top bar it isn’t a strike when viewed against Google Chrome because they are so very close. However, in terms of giving a cleaner look and making you almost forget you’re using a browser at all Chrome definitely is the winner. I think IE9 could have had this if they had allowed for more customization of the top bar but because they didn’t they lose points here.

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