Microsoft was very close to renaming Internet Explorer to fight the negative perception, but even though this decision hasn’t received the board’s approval, the company still wants to make users love its browser more in one way or another.
Internet Explorer 12 is thus expected to bring quite a lot of improvements, and according to a new report, the browser could become a really powerful rival for Firefox and Chrome.
Neowin writes, via unconfirmed sources, that Internet Explorer 12 could debut in Windows 9, which is expected to see daylight in April 2015. At this point, it’s not yet clear whether a preview version of the browser could be part of the testing build of Windows 9 due this month, but some leaked screenshots that reached the web today suggest that this is very unlikely.
Microsoft, however, is already working on a new version of Internet Explorer, and the team focusing on the project has confirmed in a recent AMA session on Reddit that some big improvements are indeed on the table.
A completely new user interface
One of the most significant changes that will be part of the new Internet Explorer 12 is the refined interface, which will better get in line with Microsoft’s modern design cues.
The source writes that Internet Explorer will embrace a new flat appearance with rectangular tabs at the top of the screen.
This means that Microsoft is also likely to adjust the layout, as in Internet Explorer 11, the tab bar is by default placed at the right of the address bar. Users can indeed change this and place the tab bar below the address bar, but Microsoft apparently wants to do this on its own in the next version of the browser.
Internet Explorer 12 is thus expected to look a lot like Google Chrome, obviously with some visual tweaks in Microsoft’s style. Back, forward, and refresh buttons placed next to the address bar are also available.
Google Chrome-like extension support
In addition to visual improvements, Internet Explorer 12 could also receive support for extensions, thus getting even closer to rival Google Chrome.
At this point, Internet Explorer already supports add-ons and plug-ins, but their number is very small right now, so Microsoft is looking to change that with the next release of the browser. An Internet Explorer add-on store is also possible in order to provide users with a quick way to expand the functionality of the browser.
At this point, it’s not yet clear whether Microsoft could in the end pick a different name for Internet Explorer, but this scenario is not out of discussion completely.
Microsoft clearly needs to find a way to avoid criticism for Internet Explorer, so a revamped feature lineup with a fresh look and a new name could actually do the trick.