With IE11, Microsoft gets all touchy-feely

The browser is designed for Windows 8.1, but according to one report, will eventually make its way to Windows 7.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read
A look at Internet Explorer 11.
A look at Internet Explorer 11. Microsoft

The latest version of Microsoft's browser, Internet Explorer 11, comes complete with a host of touch features designed for Windows 8.1.

In a blog post announcing the launch of the preview version of IE11, Microsoft focused much of its time on the "touch optimized" feature set available. The browser includes a "stick to your finger" feature that allows users to pan, zoom, and swipe around a Web site. That swipe feaoture can also be used for folks to go back to a previous page or forward to a previously viewed page. In addition, the browser includes touch hover menu support.

Touch-optimized features are a logical addition in Internet Explorer 11. An increasing number of people are adopting touch-based devices, like tablets, and have grown comfortable with swiping and panning around a page. The experience is far more intuitive than the typical ways and means of browsing.

Still, the vast majority of people actually engaging in those actions are doing so on tablets and smartphones. And although it'll be available on the PC, and Apple has similar features built into its own operating system, thanks to its Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad, for many computer users, interacting with the back button, address bar, and other core features as they always have is second nature. In other words, while touch may be a nice addition, it's not a must-have.

In addition to its touch features, Internet Explorer 11 comes with support for up to 100 tabs per window and is designed to efficiently use battery life. Microsoft also says that pages will load more quickly and HTML5 is fully supported without the need for additional plugins.

Interestingly, Internet Explorer 11 is coming to Windows 7. Engadget reported recently that Microsoft has confirmed the browser will make its way to the company's previous operating system. It's not clear, however, when that launch will happen.