The Internet Explorer 9 Beta is out and already I can see several new features and improvements over previous versions. While it still isn’t enough to get me to switch from Chrome, they are making serious improvements in the UI and how it handles certain websites. One new feature, however, I find quite interesting. They’re called jump lists and basically, it’s a bookmark on steroids.

Windows 7 has allowed you to pin applications to the taskbar for easy access. IE also provided the ability to switch tabs via the pinned application on the taskbar. Now, they have taken it to the next level. You can pin a specific site to the taskbar and open to it as if you were starting a new application. Currently, this is an IE only feature, but Microsoft hopes to turn it into a standard for other browsers to follow suit. [more]

Let’s say, you browse to and you want to pin their site to your taskbar. Click/drag the tab to your taskbar and it will automatically pin. Notice that the icon has changed.

Then when you click on it, it opens up a “special” version of IE with its own special colors and icons.

This information is grabbed from the favicon.

Finally, the jump list. Right-click on the pinned application:

Notice that there are new “tasks”. When you click on one of these, it opens that specific page. The code to add this information is really simple.

<!-- C-razy IE9 stuff --><meta name="application-name" content="Ars Technica"/>
<meta name="msapplication-starturl" content=""/>
<meta name="msapplication-tooltip" content="Ars Technica: Serving the technologist for 1.2 decades"/>
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=News;action-uri=;icon-uri="/>
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Features;action-uri=;icon-uri="/>
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=OpenForum;action-uri=;icon-uri="/>
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=One Microsoft Way;action-uri=;icon-uri="/>
<meta name="msapplication-task" content="name=Subscribe;action-uri=;icon-uri="/>

I’ve added this to one of my sites within minutes and all works as intended. Now because the jump list is actually pinned to the taskbar, the Windows team had to modify the structure of their code to allow IE to do this. This is why it still requires a reboot to install IE9. They’re modifying the kernel to allow for jump lists. Pretty neat stuff.