Dean Hachamovitch: MIX09

Remarks by Dean Hachamovitch, General Manager, Internet Explorer, about new usability and security features in Internet Explorer 8.
Las Vegas, Nev.
March 19, 2009

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Bill Buxton.

BILL BUXTON: (Applause.) Good morning. I can’t believe you all got up. You must not have had any fun last night, or you’re really, really dedicated.

This morning I just wanted to quickly introduce the two keynotes. There are two different stories to tell you this morning, and one is from inside the industry and within Microsoft, and the second is both from outside of Microsoft and the industry. And the second one I’ll introduce later.

So just to get things rolling this morning, the internal one is just – today’s actually an important day within Microsoft in the sense that today is the day we launch Internet Explorer 8. So we thought we might want to give you a little bit of insight about what’s going on there. (Applause.)

To introduce that is the general manager of Internet Explorer and it’s Dean Hachamovitch. And I pronounced that very poorly, so without further ado, let’s just get on with that and we’ll talk to you in a few minutes.

(Video segment.)

ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, Dean Hachamovitch. (Music, applause.)

DEAN HACHAMOVITCH: Good morning. Thank you for coming. MIX is an important event because of the people who come here: Developers. The people who build the Web.

I’m excited to be here against to talk about Internet Explorer 8. Last year at MIX, we made eight announcements about IE8 and we heard feedback. We heard eight was way too many things to keep track of. So listening to feedback is an important theme. And I want to demonstrate data driven in action right now by focusing on three rather than eight.

The browser is important to three large groups: The people who build the Web, the people who use the Web, and the people who attack the people who build and use the Web.

Today, we’ll show the opportunity in IE8 for people who build the Web, how IE8 enables developers to integrate their sites into people’s everyday activities. We’ll also show the progress we’ve made on interoperability, standards, performance, and the other things that the people who build the Web look for in a great browser.

Now, to build a great browser for developers, we built a great browser for the people who just browse. The people who use the Web need a browser that’s faster and easier for what they do every day, all the time. And they need a browser that protects them from the real attacks that happen every day on the Web.

The challenge today isn’t writing a browser. The challenge is writing one that just works, that withstands attacks, and delivers a great experience for how real people use the Web. Looking at browser competition nightly build by nightly build, you know, it’s interesting to a small set of folks, and most of us are in this room.

For all the people who care this much about browsers, there are many more who just want to browse. So to build it, we use real-world data from millions of people to make IE8 faster, easier, and safer for people’s everyday browsing. Today, we’ll look at how data drove IE8’s design.

Before we talk about the how and the why of IE8, we should talk about when the opportunity becomes real. Today, we’re excited to release the final build of Internet Explorer 8. (Applause.) The final version of IE8 is now available for download from It’s available in 25 languages across Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows Server in 32- and 64-bit versions, and we are releasing it here at MIX because we’re excited about what you, the developers who come to MIX, can build with it.

Developers know that listening to feedback is crucial, so let’s look at the data behind the design. We use real-world data to make people’s real-world browsing with IE8 faster, easier, and safer. We comb through lots and lots of data from users who opted in. Hundreds of millions of users, hundreds of data points in the product, millions of browser sessions.

We conducted hundreds of hours of usability tests and we fought through the larger user goals and tasks. And never underestimate how many people click “send error report” after they crash and the power of that data.

Now, to see what we did with all this data, let’s look at the product. We saw that 80 percent of navigations are back to where the user has been already. And that’s why when the user types into the address bar, the address bar will show matches out of user history. Now, the search box also shows matches out of user history as well. This is because people don’t always go to the search box to do a search. They go to the search box to get to where they want to go, and often that’s where they already were.

Now, hear me out on this data, what’s interesting about the search box from the data that we incurred in IE8 is that 7 percent of the usage is selecting one of these items out of history. Now, that’s huge in terms of the daily impact. We use data to refine as well as drive the design. Beta 2.0 also showed results from RSS feeds in the address bar, and we saw that only 1 percent of users ever selected those results, so we removed them.

If you look down over here in the search box, you see quick picks. We saw that 70 percent of users had more than one search provider installed, and we wanted to make it easier for users to use them.

Let me come back to the page and talk about how people navigate. Now, before I came on stage, I was actually reading another article about the Final Four, about basketball that’s going on right now. And we know that people are often closing things and then trying to get back to them. Restoring tabs that you’ve closed while browsing is easy and in the user flow with a new tab page.

You can also restore entire previous browsing sessions. So let me bring that up. And we also saw that browsing sessions often had an explosion of tabs. So I might be over here, and I’ll open up a bunch of tabs. And then I’ll come back over here to this article and I’ll open up several tabs.

What you’ll see is that IE8 automatically groups and colors the tabs. That even with interruptions, I get called away to a phone call or an e-mail message, when I turn back, instead of just having a bunch of tabs, it’s easy for me to keep track of which tab goes with which task. And this just works out of the box, no add-ons required.

We also looked very closely at the data about how IE crashes. And it turns out that users don’t care about the cause of the crash, they just don’t want to be interrupted. So here’s a video playing in another browser. And we’ll get the audio up so you can hear it. I’ll go to another site, and then I’ll go to some bad site, and the browser may crash. And you’ll hear that I’ve lost that video playing.

Now, I can bring the browser back up and I can restore the session, but I’ve lost my place in the video and I might easily have lost a lot of work that was in the browser as well. And I can come back here and re-navigate. Let me try that in IE8. I’ll bring up this video. And I’ll queue it up part of the way through. Maybe over to there. And this is playing in the background and I can hear it.

Now, I’ll go to the site that I have that’s under development. You’ll hear the other video playing. And when I crash here, the video keeps playing, IE keeps running. This is because we’ve isolated the tabs from each other. And when I crash, it’s contained to just that process and doesn’t affect the rest of the browser. In fact, when I come back here you’ll see that this is still playing. (Applause.)

And I can contain that. Now, containing the impact of a crash is just huge for users with many tabs going at once.

Let’s talk about performance. We also took a data-driven approach to performance. Now, we’ll talk in a moment about how common activities take far fewer clicks in IE8, but now let’s look at performance data. Here’s a high-speed video of major browsers loading some of the top sites in the world.

These real-world tests show that performance is often a push. That most people would miss the difference in side-by-side tests if they blink. Looking very closely at the video, IE8 is often faster than the other browsers. Performance is complex.

We often talk about performance on script benchmarks, but script is just one part of overall performance. And overall performance on real Web pages is very, very close.

We built IE8 to be safer. We built IE8 based on data to be faster and easier, we also built it to be safer. We heard people’s concerns about online safety and we looked to data. IE7 already blocks over a million phishing attempts a month. And from our data, malware is an even bigger threat to people who browse.

Since we released beta 2.0, IE8 has protected one in 40 users every week from downloading malware. Let’s look at this in action. So I’m here in another browser, and you’ll see that I’m on a site that seems to be PayPal, the page looks like PayPal and looking up in the address bar, it seems to say

If I come over here to IE8, you’ll see that it says – something else dot-com up here, and that something else is quite bold. And it’s a lot easier to tell what the top-level domain is. There are protections small and big that help protect users this way.

Let me go and do a Web search. I’ve heard about this product and it’s a perfect defender from hackers. So I’m doing a real Web search and it’s a real Web search site. And I’m going to follow this link. And here I am, and I have an opportunity to download a new generation of anti-spyware software. It looks great, and talks about the many faces of spyware, and I’m ready to download and I think I’ll be protected.

When you come over here to IE8 and do the same search out of the same search engine, and you’ll see I get a malware block page and I’m really protected. Now, the short version is that not all malware protection is created equal. IE8 offers better protection against malware than other browsers. And you can read the white paper for yourself at, as well as

On the Web today, bad things happen to real people in many, many ways. As we’ve made IE8 harder to attack directly, the bad guys have taken new approaches like attaching malware to screen savers, codecs, and other downloads.

It’s not just phishing and malware, but it’s hacks on services like cross-site scripting attacks and click-jacking. IE8 is the only browser today with built-in protections to keep your users safe from many cross-site scripting attacks. IE is the only browser today that out of the box enables sites to protect your users from click jacking attacks. IE puts the user in control of their browser, and helps protect their privacy.

So there is a browser available today designed from real-world data to be faster, easier, and safer for how people really use the Web. What about developers? Well, with IE8, developers have great opportunities to integrate your sites into people’s everyday activities. And that’s good for end users and that’s good for you.

Before showing the integration opportunities, let’s go back to those eight announcements about IE8 from last year. We committed to full CSS 2.1 support and working with the community to deliver a comprehensive test sweep. That test sweep is key to being data driven. We want to move standards compliance and interoperability from opinions and anecdotes to objective tests at the W3C site.

IE defaults to the most standards-compliant mode, and it has strong developer tools, and there are hands-on sessions after this morning that will go into that in great detail. And these tools will help you whether you’re profiling performance or tracking down styling issues.

In addition to all the other things for developers, now I want to show you a real-world example of interoperability and a test sweep in action.

Here I’ve got Internet Explorer 8 and it’s pointed at the W3C site and it’s one of the 7,000-plus test cases that are up there. And here I’ve got two other browsers. And this is the latest Chrome from just a few days ago, and this is actually Firefox 3.0.5, but you can try this with their latest drop.

You’ll see just looking at these pages that all three browsers pass. And for thousands of these tests, all the browsers do the same thing and the right thing. Now, here is a CSS 2.1 margin right test. And you’ll see that there should be a green square, and this browser shows a green square. And this browser doesn’t.

Here’s another test from the test suite. And you’ll see the two lines should be the same, one, two, three, and one, two, three. And in IE8 it shows one, two, three and one, two, three. But in this browser, it actually shows one, three, four. Now, these examples are real-world interoperability problems just waiting to happen to you.

For example, here is a Contoso site, a sample site from the Contoso company that I’m sure you’ve seen in the past. This is Contoso Traveler, and it looks pretty good. And it looks the same in IE8. And in this browser, you’ll see that there’s some extra red and the alignment isn’t quite right here.

Here’s another sample site. Here you’ll see the steps that the site gives to the user go one, two, three. And here in IE8, they go one, two, three. And here in this browser, they go one, three, four. Now, what you see here are the Web sites before developers spend their time on the real-world interop issues.

Standards are incredibly complex. Every major browser is trying to be a great browser for Web standards. Now, there may be other tests and sites that show other problems across implementation. And because many standards aren’t yet capital-R recommendations yet, it’s impossible to be truly complete on many standards today.

At the same time, we are committed to standards. IE8 passes more CSS 2.1 tests than other browsers. And these sample sites show our motivation. You need consistent behavior across browsers. We focused on the test suite and delivering as complete an implementation as possible so that you can spend more of your time making great sites, not dealing with issues.

So step one with developers was making it easy for you to build great sites with standards, interoperability, performance, and developer tools. Step two is creating new opportunities for you. It’s no longer just about a great Web site. We want to make it easier for your site to be part of how people use their browser and the entire Web all the time. Think about what information your site has that your customers want one-click access to, no matter where they are on the Web. That’s a great Web slice.

Think about what services your site offers that people want access to when they’re on other sites? That’s a great accelerator. Think about how visual search can help pull users back to your site. Now, these are all opportunities for your site to be part of how people use the Web all the time.

Let’s look at some examples. So here I am reading that electricity article that I was looking for before. And as I’m reading, you’ll se that I have one-click access in the browser to all the information on the Web that’s important to me. So I’ll come up here and I can see the most e-mailed articles from the New York Times. And with a click, I can see the ESPN headlines. I can check on my mail. I can check on traffic very easily.

This is a company that’s taken advantage of this in a very interesting way. I’ll click around their slice and you’ll see just how interactive it is, and you can even perform searches in here, if I want. Now this is a company that offers real-time search results for what people are talking about on the Web. And they found that users who run their Web slices come back to their site 18 percent more per day than average users.

From a developer point of view, this is easy. Just take your current site and add a few tabs around content to make a Web slice out of part of the page. There’s no script, there’s no debugging, there’s no special work, just a few tags. From a user point of view, this is a great way to help them keep what they like about your site handy and one click away.

Now, this was a deliberate approach to extensibility in IE8. We built in the functionality that broad sets of users expect in the browser. Developer tools or pad coloring and grouping – that people just have that functionality out of the box. Then we enabled extensibility with Web slices, accelerators, and visual search. With IE8, developers don’t have to write script and extra code to integrate with a browser.

Let’s go back to the data. 18 out of the top 20 commands in IE involve navigation and tabs, the act of getting to the site you want to get to and the tab that you wanted to get to in it. And it’s really great to ask different groups of people what else made the top 20 commands.

Folks who print a lot say “printing.” And college students suggest the “week’s browsing history.” (Laughter.) A lot. What people do is manually switch and manually stitch different sites together with copy and paste. The data was clear: People copy, new tab, navigate, paste. And they do that over and over again. And accelerators make this easier for users.

So here I am on this article. And I think this is a great article and I want to do something with it. I can select something particularly important to me and click on the accelerator button and now I can just blog it with a click. I can tweet, I can share on Facebook, I can use my preferred e-mail provider, whatever it is. I can use Share-a-holic. This is an add-in that the Share-a-holic author put together rather quickly after hearing about accelerators. It’s quite nice to see it in IE.

I can go over to another site and I can select some text, and even though it’s not an address, physical address, I can go and get a map of where that is. And this is an interactive map that I can move around and change in different ways. I can even look up music and start listening to what this might sound like. You’ll see one of our international partners.

Now, it’s easy for users to add these services to their browser. These services are easy for developers to offer. It’s just a little markup. Again, no script, no debugging, no hard work. Visual search speaks for itself. We’re in Las Vegas, I’ll look for Elvis. You’ll see that I can switch around using quick pick to different providers. Here are the live search suggestions for Elvis. There’s more than one Elvis in the world. I can try and see what different other sites said.

I can pay attention to how different sites took advantage of this in different ways. For example, here’s what Wikipedia does, which is quite different from eBay and different from Amazon and different from what a great news provider like the New York Times might do. No headline matches for Elvis today.

I’d like to call out some of the amazing partners who have built on IE8 so far. I want to thank them for their work. Digg today has a new accelerator out with a preview that’s just fantastic. The ESPN slices are just amazing. I strongly suggest you try them, going up to and check them out. And there are also some amazing add-ins available worldwide from different partners, for example, Cena in China, there are over 1,200 available today.

All right. Let’s talk about what’s next. First, as a team, we want to thank everyone who used our pre-release software and provided feedback. You helped us deliver IE8. We also want to thank all the partners who have built on IE8. You’ve shown that together we can make the Web better for users.

Our next steps start with listening. We’re going to listen to IE8 customers and respond appropriately. We’re going to stand behind this product and serve it and secure it for many years. We’ll continue to engage Web sites and developers on compatibility. We’re going to work with standards bodies. And we’re going to apply everything we learned to the next version of IE.

Now, the release of IE8 today isn’t really an end, but the beginning of a great developer opportunity. And what matters most for tomorrow is what you, the developer, start doing today. It’s very easy to underestimate this opportunity. Ten years ago yesterday, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5. The Wikipedia article on IE5 says that it gave birth to Ajax, even though the term Ajax wasn’t coined until years later.

There were no headlines the day IE5 shipped about the revolution about to happen. Now, that was 10 years ago. We can do better, faster, together with IE8. The next step is up to you. Microsoft loves developers. What developers do with IE8 makes all the difference. We’re excited to work with you, thank you.


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