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IE 9 hits beta

A large Internet Explorer logo adorns the partner area of the IE9 beta launch in San Francisco. Among the key features of the new browser, which went into beta on Wednesday, are hardware-accelerated graphics, a minimalistic user interface, and support for HTML 5.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Ina Fried/CNET
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Band in the lobby

An ambient string band performs in the lobby of the Concourse Exhibition & Center in San Francisco, with one musician plucking strings stretched far across the room.

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"Beauty of the Web"

Microsoft's theme for the IE9 beta launch was "The beauty of the Web."

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Beauty T-shirt

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then it'll be up to users to determine whether IE9 is the fairest on the browser block. "The Web is about sites," said Microsoft Vice President Dean Hachamovitch, pictured here at the San Francisco event. "Browsers should be too. Today, Web sites are boxed in."

To get a sense of how well IE9 delivers on Microsoft's promises, check out the first impressions from CNET's Seth Rosenblatt, "Internet Explorer goes modern in new beta."

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
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Bing

Microsoft's Jeff Henshaw shows the company's search engine, Bing, in action. The presentation touted both "jumplists" as well as a new HTML 5-powered home page that allows Bing to show either moving pictures or a video on its home page.

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Search suggestion

Here, the browser provides search suggestions as the user types.

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Categorized search results

And here we see categorized search results in IE9.

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IE9 partners

Many Web companies have partnered with Microsoft to create unique HTML5 Web content to run specifically on IE9.

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SmartScreen

Surfing the Web has its risks, including unhappy encounters with malware. IE9 can monitor which add-ons are slowing the browser as it launches, and offers a download manager that warns users if the code they are grabbing has a bad reputation.

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Demo Center

Following the keynote address, the expo floor opens up and IE9 partners show off a few of the rich Web pages that have been created over the past few weeks for the new IE9 using HTML5.

Updated:Caption:Photo:James Martin/CNET
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Jump lists

IE9 allows users to pin a Web site to the Windows 7 taskbar, much as a user can do already with applications. Pinned sites can then program "jumplists" that help users navigate quickly.

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IE9 partners

At the Wednesday event, Microsoft also showed off more than 70 companies that have done work to support IE9, stretching from Amazon to Zillow.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Ina Fried/CNET
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China art museum

This interactive Web site, allowing Web browsers to peruse China's national art museum, was built by a French steel worker in his spare time.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Ina Fried/CNET
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Hurricane Katrina, before and after

USA Today created a site for the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that lets viewers see photos of what a site looked like in the aftermath of the storm as compared to today. With IE9, users can scroll from the old image to the new, as seen here.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Ina Fried/CNET
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