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Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is apparently fed up with being the black sheep of the web browser family. The newest version strips away all extra baggage, including its own identity, and focuses exclusively on the site at hand.

IE9 offers support for HTML5 — where browsers like Chrome have already jumped head-first into — as well as hardware acceleration for improved graphics quality and a more seamless visual experience that has very little to do with the Internet Explorer brand and acts more like a stripped down window into the web.

Internet Explorer 9 also integrates in a new way with Bing. It couples the aesthetic appeal of the Bing homepage with a search engine that transitions more smoothly thanks to a “wicked fast” java engine and support for CSS3.

The new integration comes just after Google completely revamped its search engine to provide real-time results in what it hopes will be a game-changing move for search. Google has essentially taken the efficiency route, while Bing has taken the more visceral route.

Internet Explorer also introduces “pinned websites,” (pictured above), which don’t have the Internet Explorer branding in the taskbar and instead focus on the site by showing its icon. Microsoft partnered with 70 top brands — which it says reach about two-thirds of all active Internet users — to provide a more app-like integrated experience.

But an interesting (and possibly out of character) new feature alerts IE9 users when an add-on is either slowing down the browser tremendously or has caused the browser to crash. Basically, Microsoft is looking to shift the blame to add-ons when it comes to instability for which Internet Explorer has traditionally been criticized.

The revamped browser is available for download today at a rather lofty-sounding URL: www.beautyoftheweb.com.

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