IE9 Screenshot Leaked to the Web

Contributing Editor

Internet Explorer 9′s new interface has been revealed following an article published on a site run by one of Microsoft’s Russian subsidiaries. The screenshot was removed almost immediately, but it was too late — the image quickly dispersed throughout the web:

IE9 screenshot

Microsoft has refused to publicly comment about the leak but, if it’s a fake, it’s very good one.

The screenshot shows a minimalistic user interface reminiscent of those implemented by Chrome, Opera and Firefox 4. However, the style and layout of the back/next buttons, address bar and icons will be recognizable to IE8 fans (I’m sure they must exist somewhere?)

All the controls have moved to a single toolbar. It doesn’t leave much room for multiple tabs but it maximizes the web page viewing space. I’m surprised tabs haven’t been moved to the empty title bar area — Mozilla recently determined that tabs above the address bar is a more logical layout.

The Russian website also revealed IE9 would offer a unified search/address bar, a simplified set of toolbar icons, and tear-off tabs which can be snapped to a part of the screen. Windows 7 already offers this last option as “Aero Snap” so it may not be a feature implemented directly within the browser.

The IE9 beta will be released on September 15 2010 so we’ll soon know whether the leaked screenshot is real or not. The final version is unlikely to appear until 2011 so the interface may undergo radical changes before then.

Of course, it could be a Microsoft publicity stunt to raise awareness of the browser. I somehow doubt that — it’s been far more successful than many of their real campaigns! (Did anyone actually attend a Windows 7 party?)

What do you think? Is the screenshot real or fake? Do you like it?

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  • Simon

    There doesn’t seem to be much room for the tabs (Bing in this example screenshot), maybe 2 or 3 would fit there – I usually have between 5 and 10 tabs at any one time, and want to be able to see what each one has as the title, but surely that won’t have enough room to show this?

    Also the address bar seems quite short, maybe a lot of users don’t really care what exact page they are on but I like to know – not only that but what about sites that are trying to spoof another, if only a short address bar is present then there’s a good chance that the real domain could be forced far enough to the right that it’d not show up.

    Still can’t wait for IE9 though (and I’m one of the current IE8 fans).

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      I hope the tabs are moved to the top — there’s plenty of space and it makes more sense.

      I’m one of the current IE8 fans

      Admitting it is the first step ;-)

      • Wardrop

        Craig, IE9 in this screenshot is not maximised, hence why the tabs are not in the title bar area. I would bet money that when maximised, the title bar would be consumed by the tabs and address bar. This is exactly how Chrome currently behaves.

        Just a quick comment on the tab space also. I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft uses the same grouping and preview combination as they used for the new taskbar in Windows 7. Pages from the same website will likely be grouped, and pages within they group would likely be displayed upon mouse over. This would reduce the space required for tabs, and would make IE9 consistent with the behaviour of Windows Explorer.

  • hi

    Seems like a lot of unused real estate where the status bar should be…

  • Wolf_22

    What can we expect with processing or rendering speeds? I mean, what can we expect in contrast to how Chrome renders a website, etc.? I know this is somewhat dependent on how each respective website is made but from a general standpoint, is there word out about how fast it will render and function overall?

  • Aaron

    If it is fake, I bet Microsoft decides to change the layout to look like this. As for a browser it doesn’t look to bad, but being a Mac guy I haven’t used IE in ages and hopefully won’t have to ever again. Go FireFox!

  • Michael

    I wonder if the tab bar will spill over on to the next line like floated elements in css. Also there is no bookmarks bar or status bar (lets hope the status bar is like chrome).

  • NetNerd85

    We’ll find out when they release it.

  • Scott Petrovic

    I think Microsoft is using this leak as a great test for how their design will be received before they actually release it. They are so smart. ;) I think the tabs should go on the bottom. When you rollover them, they will show a little preview of what is inside like Windows 7 does. I like the feature on Windows 7, so I will like it in a web browser.

    I really don’t care about the look as much as I care about the web technologies they are putting into it. All that matters is how it will do on the ACID test and any other extra web technologies they will integrate into it. People will figure it out.

  • henrikblunck

    First og all, I like this screenshot, so if it’s real it’s a good attempt at scoring some users from Chrome and FireFox. Once again, I think Bing was the most revolutionizing idea for a search engine – and that market is no doubt much bigger than supplying a free webbrowser.

    But for Microsoft it has become a question of prestige, and there isn’t much that indicates they will ever give up their MS-IE project. I would trash it and recommend people choose between the numerous good browsers available on the internet already.

    Looking forward to seeing the final release. :-)

  • Whosdigit

    Great way for Microsoft to test the waters. Safari got panned for having Tabs at the top.

    If feedback is poor on this layout, they’re simply out a mock up.

    Granted, Opera did tabs at the top years ago. It’s a much better layout, hopefully they’ll leave it clean like this image.

  • (Paul McKeown)

    Thank goodness for IE 9, IE at last catching up to a large degree, and indeed moving the mark forward in some areas.

    To most intents and purposes, IE 6 and IE 7 are not going to be a factor for general web development in most advanced economies for more than another year now, and for many purposes, it will probably at last be safe to drop corrections for IE 6 within six months. See http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-GB-daily-20100101-20100830 and http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-GB-daily-20100817-20100830-bar for illustrations of how their usage is dropping rapidly in the UK, for instance.

    However, as Microsoft has chosen not to implement the standards functionality of IE 9 for Win XP, it is clear that a new barrier to development against a single standard is going to hold back the web for another three to five years. That will be IE 8, with its non-standard event handling, non-standard DOM, lack of CSS 3, SVG, Canvas, xhmtl and even the most basic elements of HTML5. Et cetera. A shame.

    I suppose there is no point plaguing MS until it relents?

  • IE8 Fan

    (I’m sure they must exist somewhere?)

    Hell yeah they do. I know I’m an IE8 fan and I also know some others who use IE because they like it.

  • Jim

    As a power surfer, I have a collection of 20-30 bookmarks on the bookmark bar at all times (and many of them have drop-down options). This is in addition to the thousands of bookmarks carefully cataloged and stored on drop-down bookmarks. I don’t even see this bar in this IE9 pic so this browser would be totally useless to me. Period.

    • http://www.optimalworks.net/ Craig Buckler

      I can’t believe the favorites toolbar would disappear from IE9. It may be hidden by default, but it’s been in the browser from v4 at least — Microsoft are unlikely to remove it.

  • Claire

    I only use IE when I’m checking to see what terrible rendition of my standards compliant CSS IE manages to NOT implement. For example the CSS3 webkits gradients, radii, and transitions; and other stuff to do with margins and padding – Most notably with ordered and unordered lists with list-style-images. I always have to add conditional hacks in the “head” to make them NOT cut the image off half-way.
    I really could care less about how the browser looks. It’s not the esthetics, it’s the implementation of Standard Compliance that I am interested in seeing changed.

  • a web developers

    to be honest ,

    I DO NOT care but crap M$ is gonna vomit on the market again….

    the track record of IE and the layout engine behind (trident) is abhorrent !
    IE has been an abomination of a web browser will always remain as such.

    take this advice from an expert,

    DITCH IE and go for anything else preferable Firefox or Chrome !

    • Anonymous

      ok expert…’a web developers’

  • John

    Microsoft trying to catch up once again. Looks like a minimalist Chrome like interface. If the Javascript performance is as horrible as their previous versions there is no reason whatsoever for this browser to exist.

  • Joseph

    This looks very nice. If Microsoft was in a hurry to remove this it must be real or along the lines of “real”. That said I hope that this improvement in interface means that the browser it self has improvements when using Java, flash and overall speed of loading webpages or even loading videos on sites such as YouTube (I use YouTube a lot). Looking forward to September 15th, hopefully flash is somewhat compatible with the beta so I can test it out on YouTube. Good luck Microsoft.

  • YoMamma

    M$ has the right idea… minimize their browser. They just didn’t go far enough because apparently they are still going to release it.