Think Internet Explorer Is Bad? The Next One Will Be Way Better — And Worse

IE 10 Metro

Photo: Microsoft

Internet Explorer has an awful reputation.Older versions of the browser were slow, would mangle Web pages and attracted malware like mosquitoes to bare skin.

IE 9 is the current version and is faster and safer, but Microsoft is already hyping up the next version of Internet Explorer.

It will be tightly integrated with Microsoft’s new operating system Windows 8 and you won’t even recognise it.

But, many from who downloaded the preview consumer version were not impressed with revamped browser, if the comments on Microsoft’s blog are any indication.

Good: Graphics will be super fast

Microsoft has been helping create the new HTML5 web standard. So naturally IE 10 uses HTML5. (Lots of other companies are working on HTML5, too, like Google, Mozilla, Opera, HP, Nokia ...)

IE 10 will also tap into what Microsoft calls 'hardware acceleration' meaning it will throw extra computer processing power at IE.

It all adds up to a fast browsing experience when HTML5 is used for videos and for video games.

Good: Charms let you easily share a Web page

'Charms' is Microsoft's way of giving you the same set of buttons in every Metro app: for searching, sharing and settings.

The share Charm is like Microsoft's version of the 'Share this' extension. It lets you easily e-mail a Web page, or share it with your contacts without leaving the browser.

You can do that in other many browsers now, though. For instance in Chrome just click File/E-mail page location.

Good: One tap brings up pinned/frequent sites

The browser will take up a full screen. One tap will take you to a navigation screen where you can type in a URL.

That screen also shows your pinned sites and the ones you've visited most frequently. Nice.

Bad: Auto-update feature doesn't have mass appeal

Microsoft is showing off a new feature in IE. If you pin websites to your start page, some sites can notify you when the website has new info.

Microsoft built a demo of a site that shows a countdown of the number of days left until spring. The icon on the start page will shows the countdown number. No need to launch the site and look.

That sounds cool and all but how many Web developers will care to build these kinds of widgets for IE Metro users? Probably not many.

UPDATED: Microsoft contacted us to say that Plug-in free support does not absolutely require Microsoft's ageing technology ActiveX. The Building Windows 8 blog had indicated that it would by saying: 'Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX.' We have updated this story accordingly and apologise for the error.

Bad: Trouble with extensions and add-ons

In this early version, users are complaining about how Microsoft was handling -- or not handling -- add-ons and extensions.

In Microsoft's official FAQ for the preview version it said IE 10 Metro wouldn't allow them: 'Internet Explorer 10 provides an 'add-on free' experience. It supports HTML 5 for video content, but you can't install toolbars and add-ons in Internet Explorer 10.'

Add-ons and extensions are one of the reasons people love Firefox and Chrome. Microsoft is getting a lot of feedback from folks not happy that they can't opt for an ad-blocker, a security control -- even an Evernote button. Here's hoping Microsoft's changes it's mind on this.

Ugly: favourites get out of control

Right now, IE 10 Metro has combined the 'favourites' (bookmarks) concept with the 'pinned' process. So if you bookmark a site, it shows up on your start screen.

Most of us have dozens, if not hundreds, of bookmarked sites but we wouldn't them cluttering up our main screen.

Add to this that IE 10, for now, forbids add-ons, even to bookmarking sites like Delicious, and you have yourself a browser that doesn't seem to understand the idea of browsing.

We hope Microsoft heeds the complaints on this and adds the 'favourites' folder back in.

Here's a look at how totally different Windows 8 will be

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