IE9 RC with Tracking Opt-Out Now Available for Download

The next generation of browser wars is just around the corner. While Mozilla inches closer to shipping Firefox 4, which is currently in its eleventh beta, Microsoft on Thursday announced the availability of Internet Explorer 9 in Release Candidate form. That means it's essentially finished, at least in terms of features, and should have most of the bugs ironed out.

"With the Release Candidate, we've taken to heart over 17,000 pieces of feedback about IE9," Microsoft said in a blog post. "You will find the product has made progress on all fronts -- performance and standards, user experience, and safety and privacy."

On the subject of privacy, IE9 introduces a new Tracking Protection feature. This bit of technology comes after the Federal Trade Commission voiced concern over consumer privacy on the Web. Should you turn IE9's Tracking Protection feature on, you'll be able to subscribe to multiple lists with URLs labeled as "allow," "block," or "neutral." Firefox 4 has a similar privacy feature built-in, but Microsoft contends its solution does more.

"By controlling the flow of information to sites, these Tracking Protection Lists help users protect their privacy," Microsoft explains. "Unlike other solutions, IE9’s benefits users even if Web sites do not respect the user’s preference to not be tracked. The ability for a site to determine that the user has expressed a desire to not be tracked (by turning the feature on) is inherent in the design of Tracking Protection."

You can download IE9 RC at