Last night Microsoft finally launched their latest, and presumably, greatest browser into the world. It seems to have a new streamlined interface and also some interesting partnerships with popular internet services.
Many partners are announcing special offers for Internet Explorer 9 customers that will be available in the coming weeks, including the following:
- Slacker. A free monthlong subscription for customers who pin the Slacker site to their taskbars
- Groupon. $5 in Groupon Bucks when making a first purchase from the Internet Explorer 9 Jump List
- Hulu. A free month of the Hulu Plus subscription for users who pin Hulu
- eBay. Offering coupons or eBay Bucks for bids or purchases made using the Internet Explorer 9 pinning and Jump List features
- Gilt. A series of product bundles for customers who make purchases of specified amounts via the Jump List
That's certainly one way to get folks to try out the new browser. Haters of Adobe's Flash should be happy in that it now will use some hardware acceleration to help out the computer drain:
“Internet Explorer 9 has moved the bar in hardware acceleration, enabling Flash Player to tap into the GPU and creating a win-win situation for our mutual customers who want fast, rich content experiences,” said Paul Betlem, senior director, Flash Player Engineering at Adobe. “With Internet Explorer 9 and Flash Player taking advantage of the GPU, we continue the collaboration with Microsoft to further optimize performance. Both companies are also working closely to advance and streamline controls for managing Flash Player privacy and security settings in Internet Explorer 9.”
Interestingly, further down the press release Microsoft trumps their HTML5 forward progress. This would be at odds with their celebration of Flash GPU improvements:
“I love the Web for the kinds of joyous experiences it can create!” said Ze Frank, who is launching new features within the social gaming site, Star.Me, in coordination with the Austin event. “HTML5 is a huge step forward for the browser because it brings the Web back to a unified platform for creation. By integrating HTML5 into Internet Explorer 9 and hardware accelerating the browser, Microsoft has signaled its commitment to pushing the Web forward, and that is certainly worth celebrating.”
What do you think; will this be enough to wrestle you away from Google Chrome, or even, shudder, Firefox? Trigon and its clients should be pleased with the new security improvements put in place by this new version, though. The more security the better.
Malware is now the No. 1 risk to people’s security online, and Internet Explorer 9 provides the first Download Manager with integrated SmartScreen malware protection. The browser also introduces SmartScreen download reputation, a groundbreaking browser feature that uses reputation data to remove unnecessary warnings for well-known files and show more severe warnings when the download has a higher risk of being malicious. Studies show that Internet Explorer 9 blocks 99 percent of socially engineered malware attacks, five times more than Firefox and 33 times more than Google Chrome.
By any objective standard, Microsoft has succeeded at the task it set out to do: build a fast, standards-compliant browser with a clean, modern design that integrates well with Windows 7. But is that enough to preserve its shrinking lead in an increasingly competitive field of browsers? Can it convince defectors to end their experiments with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox and return to the fold? Can it excite web developers and kick up its own tempo to keep up with younger, faster competitors?
Being that I'm both young and fast, I'm intrigued by the thought of using IE for anything more than work related services. If this were a Browser Users Anonymous, I would be about to admit that I use Google Chrome almost exclusively. Gasp - you say! Well, don't flip out of your office chair and loose that Everything bagel just yet. I do have IE open all day long but for researching tech news and updating my cat's Twitter, I'll stick with Chrome. It has great bookmark-sync along with my Gmail credentials, and some great Extensions. Extensions are those handy "plug-ins" that show a GMail icon in the top of the bar, let's you block Flash, YouTube comments, and other amazing necessities.
So, can IE survive with hip youths like myself? Let's read onto some of the main points.
You can almost see the tiny hairs rise on the back of an IE9 developer’s neck if you describe the browser as minimalist . It’s refined , you are told. It is site-centric. Since the beta, IE’s designers have done even more refining and polishing. They’ve shaved a few pixels off the browser’s frame. Elements in the UI that add noise and distraction are hidden (although you can easily restore the status bar, the Favorites bar, and the Command bar if you are willing to sacrifice some screen real estate for information). The browser’s chrome doesn’t compete for your attention with the page you’re viewing.
That's a good start. I generally cringe when I see old fogies using IE as their main browser. It looks so...outdated. Some of the reasons I use Chrome are for it's design. It gets out of the way and let's the page become the focal point. Not so with previous versions of IE; the browser itself reserves most of your attentions.
Features like Protected Mode, which sandboxes IE processes and prevents rogue apps from infiltrating into higher-integrity processes, were already part of IE7 and IE8 on post-XP Windows versions. But a potentially much bigger addition to IE’s security underpinnings makes its debut in this release. It’s called ActiveX Filtering, and if you’ve ever wished for an IE equivalent to FlashBlock, your wish just came true.
Clicking ActiveX Filtering on the Safety menu acts like a master switch that universally disables all ActiveX controls on all sites. The most common ActiveX control these days, of course, is Adobe’s Flash Player. (Outside of the U.S., ActiveX is more commonly used, especially in banking applications, which makes the protection even more useful.) With ActiveX Filtering on, Flash content is silently disabled, with no prompts to install or re-enable the plugin. In my testing, this feature worked flawlessly.
In my current build of Google Chome, I have an Extension called FlashBlock. This automatically disables Flash objects from loading on websites and gives my laptop's fan a well deserved breather. Flash is notorious for causing pages to crash and also wearing down your computer. Good on you, IE.
Microsoft has also continued to invest in reducing the working set (RAM usage) for the browser. In a brief and hardly comprehensive test, I found that opening the same sequence of six tabs resulted in nearly identical memory usage between IE9 and Google Chrome 9, with a difference of less than 1%. That’s a huge improvement over IE8, where the identical set of pages required nearly 50% more RAM.
This is arguably the most importation caveat for potential IE users. I remember the browser being a little too slow for my tests - not only that - it made the rest of my computer slow. It's great to see Microsoft finally dealing with many of the longstanding IE issues that have cropped up over the years. Granted, these are only a few topics of discussion for the RC of Internet Explorer, but you will no doubt see Trigon reviewing the final build, and discussing if your small to mid-sized business can benefit from it.
Google Apps Blog:
Chrome delivers the fastest Google Apps experience and protects users against phishing and malware on the web. This browser is now available for download with support for the following administrator functionality:
MSI Installer: A standalone installer that allows admins to install the Chrome browser at a system-level across the organization.
Group Policies: These allow admins to configure common behaviours across the organization such as default search provider, default homepage and many more.
Policy Templates: ADM and ADMX templates are included in order to help admins easily configure these policies that manage security and privacy including the ability to disable auto-updates.
That sound was your nerdy IT admin falling over in his chair. I'm sure his sweater vest is fine, though. No worries.
I like to think I'm "hip" to current technologies. I'm on the "cutting edge". With that said, I LOVE me some Chrome. For those not in the know, Chrome is like Internet Explorer, but good. Sure, sure, there are people that will be saying, "no way man, IE is the best browser out there." Possibly Andrew, "Ballmer Jr.", Levin.
My problem is that IE often doesn't render the most modern websites. It doesn't yet support some of the more modern tools that websites use to display content. Google Chrome is usually leading the way in this respect. So it's nice to see Chrome getting an official "For Business" addition to their stable.
Rumor 'round town is that Google is ditching Microsoft OS's for its internal machines due to " IT security
concerns". I say rumor because of conflicting reports, the use of anonymous sources, and the dancing around the bush Google PR types are doing.
Most of this is based on the recent hacks into Google by Chinese hackers which lead to the reported theft of Google intellectual property and information on Chinese humanitarian protestors. Google is blaming the hacks on the Microsoft OS and web browser used on the computer that was penetrated. In my perusing of this issue, I found several mentions that the OS was XP and the browser was IE6. The use of XP I can see as legit, most companies have not made the change over to Windows 7. The use of IE6 seems a little out of place. If IE6 was in use and not stopped that is all on Google. I suspect that the IE was probably not IE6 but something higher and it was an exploit that affected the different version of IE. I am surprised that Chrome was not being used! Heck, I use Chrome and I am a MS drone myself.
Anyway, why do we care...well probably most of us don't. If Google wants to ditch MS OS's and go to MAC, Linux, or the new Chrome OS...have fun. They will get hacked too at some point; nothing is 100% secure...ever. This is probably posturing and PR drama for the push out of the Chrome OS, the beginning salvo for the upcoming Microsoft OS vs. Chrome OS battle to be fought in the media.
Will this hurt Microsoft...maybe? Google has ~ 10000 employees, so that isn't going to be much of an issue to MS. The publicity may be an issue and they will have to spend additional dollars on PR to fight that battle, which means my Xbox games are going to increase in price...again.
I am waiting for tomorrow's headline stating that Microsoft is no longer allowing for internal usage of Chrome as a web browser and Google as a search engine due to "security concerns"
If you concerned about your IT Security, or are in need of IT Support solutions for your Philadelphia area business, contact Trigon today by calling us at 1-888-494-TRIGON or by emailing us at solutions@TrigonIT.com!
As an IT Support
Company, we thought it was important that the following information be shared with you. If you haven't heard already, on January 21, 2010, Microsoft released a Security Bulletin concerning a critical IT security
issue. Microsoft states "This security update resolves seven privately reported vulnerabilities and one publicly disclosed vulnerability in Internet Explorer. The more severe vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less impacted than users who operate with administrative user rights. Microsoft then goes on to say "This security update is rated Critical for all supported releases of Internet Explorer: Internet Explorer 5.01, Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 8."
If your computer has automatic updating enabled, you shouldn't have to do anything to download the security update. Your computer will do it automatically. However, if you don't have automatic updating enabled, check for updates manually and install the update IMMIDIATELY.
With computer attacks and IT security issues floating around that could cause an unheard of amount of damage to your computer, and ultimately your business, it is important to make sure that your IT systems are safe and secure at all times. Make sure that your IT Support staff or Managed Services Provider has your systems as secure as possible. Trigon offers many IT Services and IT security solutions to businesses in the Philadelphia area. If your Philadelphia area business needs help with IT support and IT security, be sure that you check Trigon out!
Also, make sure you take advantage of the Free IT Consultation that Trigon offers to see how your IT systems could become more secure and better optimized for your business!
This 'internet' thing seems like it could be popular one day.
Have you ever heard of a 'Web App'? It's like using Adobe Photoshop to add witty captions to pictures of adorable cats, but WITHOUT the actual application! You can just load up Internet Explorer and edit the image from there. The application itself is stored in a magic fantasy land so you can edit to your little hearts content from any computer. That way it's not tied down with software you need to load everywhere.
Microsoft will soon be taking the wraps off of their Office Web Apps. You will be able to edit Word Documents, Excel Spreadsheets and Powerpoint Presentations from inside of IE. I'm telling you, these intertubes are just super. Pretty soon these installation discs will go the way of the Dodo, or to a more topical extent, VHS. (And If I wanted to get really nerdy, 'HD-DVD')
Microsoft has stated the Web Versions of their popular Office Suite will be available in the first half of 2010, with beta invites coming out in August. That looks to be the year of Microsoft Vs. Google. They already have their OS battle on tap, and now will have a Web App Battle Royale. (Google already has Web Apps in place with their Google Docs suite.)
Play me off, Keyboard Cat!