Those who have already downloaded and started using Microsoft’s Windows 8 consumer preview may have noticed that the Metro-style version of Internet Explorer 10 has some new features that didn’t appear in the developer’s preview that Microsoft released back in September 2011.

For example, IE 10 will have both the Metro Style touch version, which is plug-in free, and a desktop version that will allow plug-ins. According to a September 2011 blog post by Microsoft’s President of Windows Division Steven Sinofsky, “The experience that plug-ins provide today is not a good match with Metro style browsing and the modern HTML5 web.”

Below is a list of the things that have changed in the six months since the release of the developer’s preview:

  • Full, independent composition enables responsive, fast and fluid behavior on real websites (including pages with fixed elements, nested scrolling regions, animations, and video)
  • Back and forward swipe navigation with preview
  • Double-tap to zoom in on content
  • Fast back and forward navigation controls for mouse
  • Mouse (CTRL+scroll wheel) and keyboard methods for quickly zooming in and out to mirror touch interactions
  • Automatic domain suggestions for faster navigation and less typing
  • Share charm support for URLs, snippets, images and selection with Mail and other apps
  • Search charm with visual search suggestions
  • Devices charm for printing, projecting, and playing video to external devices like TVs
  • Plug-in free support: notifications for sites requiring activeX
  • Background notifications for pinned sites and other tile improvements
  • Jumplists for pinned sites
  • InPrivate tabs that are easier to open
  • Clean up tabs command, which quickly closes all but current tab

Until Microsoft officially releases Windows 8 for wide use, these changes will only have meaning for those who have already downloaded the Windows 8 consumer preview. In the meantime, keep in mind that Microsoft promises that Web browsing with Internet Explorer 10 will be as “fast and fluid for the real Web” as it currently is for mobile users.

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