A baseline was determined with test systems sitting idle, and then browsers were pointed at about:blank, a news site, the HTML5 Galactic demo, and the IE9 fish tank demo. Perhaps unsurprisingly, IE9 came out on top -- though Firefox 4 was a very close second on nearly every test. As you can see, the other browsers didn't necessarily fare quite as well, with Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera all posting significantly worse scores. In Opera 11's case, a laptop battery would last over one hour more with Internet Explorer 9 installed.
Not too long ago, Microsoft released an extension for Google Chrome which enabled H.264 HTML5 video playback. Now Google has returned the favor by offering a WebM plug-in for Internet Explorer 9 users. In a move which we can only describe as oozing with self-confidence, Google points out that there are some known issues -- visit this page, and revel in its blankness.
If you plan on using IE9 but don't want to miss out on all the WebM videos which are popping up, download and install the plug-in now. The plug-in only works on Vista and Windows 7, but conveniently the same is true for IE9.
One of the ways Internet Explorer 9 seeks to "bring the Web to your desktop" is by allowing sites to be pinned to your taskbar, and use jump lists to quickly and directly access specific parts of a website. A handful of big-name sites already offer Windows 7 integration, including Facebook, Twitter, CNN, Flixster, and IMDb.
Microsoft has also shared how this works (and Scott Hanselman has posted an excellent how-to article), so it's possible for other browser makers to implement, too. If you're a Google Chrome user, in fact, you can install an extension (developed by an independent programmer) which adds jump list actions to a drop-down menu on the Omnibar!
Unsurprisingly called IE9 Jump List Tasks, the extension adds a green arrow to the Omnibar whenever you visit a supported site. If jump list actions are detected, clicking the arrow will display a menu like the one you see above. It's not quite as cool as being able to poke your taskbar icons, but it is a neat display of how the feature can be utilized in non-IE browsers. The extension also didn't work for me on all the sites I tried -- Twitter and Facebook lists weren't detected -- but it was still cool to see it pop up elsewhere, like on IMDb and Flixster.
I'm not sure when the changes actually landed, but Google has announced that an early implementation of hardware acceleration is now available in developer versions of Chrome 7.
Early testing suggests that performance is still worse than Internet Explorer 9, but the gap has definitely been closed a bit. The '1000 fish test' now clocks in at about 10 frames per second, which is definitely an improvement from last time -- but still some way short of IE9's 45 FPS.
The Chromium blog post says that only some content is being accelerated, so the Fish Tank might not be a fair comparison of the browsers. I'll try to find a better test or benchmark and share my findings later today. You can enable hardware acceleration in Chrome with the --enable-accelerated-compositing flag -- and if you discover anything interesting, please share your findings in the comments!
Update: you might need a nightly build of Chromium to take advantage of this hardware acceleration. It would be nice if Google could explicitly state when the changes were made...
Final Internet Explorer 9 preview released -- tons of fixes, speed-ups, and only 8 weeks until the beta
There's only four weeks to go until the next IE9 developer preview, and it looks like Chinese leak site Cnbeta might have got its hands on the new build already.
I'm not quite sure what to make of the screenshots, nor the Google translation. The Developer Previews (Internet Explorer Test Drive) are not meant to have a user interface -- they're just there to show off the Trident rendering engine. That means we're probably looking at the beta version of IE9 in these screenshots. Does that mean the private beta has begun -- or are these simply fakes?
As you can see above, IE9 seems to gained a proper download manager. After the break there's a couple more images -- one of the very Chromeish 'new tab page', and one that hints at restartless add-on management.
Very Chromeish, eh?
'Stay Fast'? Are these really from a beta build...?