Microsoft has put the latest iteration of its web browser, Internet Explorer 9, as a download albeit still in beta and the first impressions are very good indeed.
The company is pinning its hopes on the application speed and security in order to curtail the growth of rivals Chrome and Firefox which have been eating away at IE's marketshare over the last few years.
The browser was launched yesterday in London as Microsoft teamed up with British band, Gorillaz, to showcase some of the highlights of the product and demonstrate some of its abilities.
Dean Hachamovitch, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Internet Explorer, stressed that "IE9 puts you and your site at the center of the browser experience" because "“The Web is about sites, and your browser should be, too".
More importantly though, Microsoft has teamed up with some of the biggest websites on the internet to create new websites and web-based applications that take advantage of IE9's native features.
However, it is under the hood, away from the user, that the most radical change took place. IE9 now uses GPU hardware acceleration to get things done and freeing the CPU for other tasks.
The result is a much faster, generally more enjoyable web experience even on low-end computers.
Users can already download the application here and it is available in 33 languages. Any platform prior to Windows Vista SP2 is not supported (as it is also the case for Windows Live Essentials 2011).