Sneak peek at IE 9

We contemplate the platform preview for Microsoft's forthcoming Internet Explorer 9, check in on a Google Chrome update, and look at a freebie backup utility that bests the Windows default disk imager.

As much bad press as Microsoft gets for Internet Explorer, we can't fault the software giant for continuing to develop what remains to be (for better or for worse) the world's most-used browser. In response to criticism, Microsoft started showing what it terms an Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview. We're told that the forthcoming IE 9 will include modern browser tricks, such as video that can play in the browser without a separate plug-in, better graphics performance, and the HTML5 Web standard that will let the browser handle a more complex class of Web apps. Although IE 9 is months away from release, you can get a taste of the platform preview in our IE 9 preview photo gallery.

Speaking of browsers, Google Chrome users will note that Google has received an update that tackles five security flaws. Be sure you're surfing with the most recent (and threat-proof) build.

If you're looking for a backup utility, here's a freebie that might interest you: Easeus Todo Backup. In particular, we closely inspected the disk imaging function, comparing it with Microsoft's built-in imager, and we found the Easeus product superior. Read about our hands-on experience.

Finally, we have a surprise app that will be available exclusively from CNET on Tuesday. We're not allowed to tell you what it is yet, but here's a hint: it's a popular one. Check at 8 a.m. PT on Tuesday, March 23 to see what it is.

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