Internet Explorer 12 UI overhaul is a blend of Chrome and Firefox, adds extension support

Microsoft is always looking for ways to improve its browser and with growing pressure from Google Chrome and Firefox, there is no time to waste when it comes to pushing out new features. And to no surprise, Microsoft has big plans for its next major update to Internet Explorer, which will arrive with Windows Threshold.

Before we go too far, we are not sure if this new browser build will show up in the technical preview that is expected at the end of this month. Microsoft has many new features in the works for Internet Explorer 12, but it is still up in the air as to whether or not this new browser will make into the Windows preview. Indeed, as you can see in the leaked shots of build 9384 of Windows 9 that came out earlier, the new IE is not present there either.

Microsoft’s next browser brings a dramatic new look to the browser - but that in itself is not news, as Microsoft has promised this in the past. But what is new is that we have seen the UI and can help you understand what those changes will be.

For starters, it’s flat, and looks like a cross between Chrome and Firefox. The tabs for each webpage are rectangles at the top and start on the far left of the window. In IE11, the URL bar is on the same horizontal plane as the tabs, in IE12 (or whatever they call the next version) the tabs are on top of the URL bar.

It really looks a lot like Chrome but with Microsoft's flat lipstick applied. It’s still early in the UI phase but it does look quite a bit different from what we see now with Internet Explorer 11. There are back, forward and refresh buttons next to the URL bar below the tabs, again, very similar to how Chrome is presented.

The other big change is that it appears, at least in the current setup, that the browser will support extensions like Chrome. While IE11 does support plugins, it’s not nearly as well developed as it is for Chrome where users can easily add items through Google’s extension store.

We will be watching closely as Microsoft overhauls the UI of Internet Explorer but so far, it is looking better than the current iteration of IE - but sadly, we don’t yet know all of the details behind the release.

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