The new design for Microsoft’s next web browser is expected to be unveiled September 15th, but the company’s Russian press site may have inadvertently spilled the beans a bit early. A screenshot of what appears to be the new IE9 made a brief appearance on the site before being yanked down.
It wasn’t taken offline fast enough to escape the press, though. Long-time Microsoft specialist Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet grabbed a screenshot that shows a much simplified user interface for IE 9.
Internet Explorer 9 promises to be a boon for the web — the modernized rendering engine is faster and much better with emerging web standards. We’ve seen four developer previews of IE9, but thus far the focus has been on the underlying code and rendering engine. There’s been no real hint as to what the final browser interface will look like until today.
Among the notable details visible in the screenshot are a unified search and URL bar a la Google’s Chrome browser, an enlarged back button, much like what you’ll find in Firefox, and a noticeable lack of menu items in the main bar.
In short, it looks like Microsoft has decided that less is more by greatly simplifying the browser UI. This is keeping in line with something Ryan Gavin, director of platform strategy at Microsoft, said previously: “The browser is the theater, we’re not the play.” In other words expect IE9 to have a cleaner, less in-your-face design. As the Russian site stated (in translation), “Now the user sees only what you need to navigate.”
Until the official launch, only Microsoft knows what the browser looks like, and it wouldn’t comment to Foley or to anyone else about the screenshot.