Mary Jo Foley has revealed what is almost certainly the eagerly-awaited Internet Explorer 9 user interface, which Microsoft plans to deliver as part of the Beta 1 release next month. Here it is:

There will be a new, simplified navigation bar with IE 9 that will leave “more room for the (Web) site itself.” There will be some navigation tools for commonly used functions — things like a back button and a combined address/search bar. But the numerous menu items in older versions of IE have “been consolidated into one,” the site said. “Now the user sees only what you need to navigate.”

There will be provisions for “recognized,” or “protected,” sites which will allow users to go straight from the Windows taskbar to these sites without having to open IE first. In other words, recognized, protected sites will be treated more like traditional Windows applications.

(C)lick the pins in the address bar or click the site in a new tab and drag it to the taskbar. That’s all. If the site is pinned, it displays an icon that is separate from the Internet Explorer. Now from the website you are just one click.

[It will also feature] “tear-off tabs” — a capability that will build on Windows’s Aero Snap feature. Snap allows users to more easily look at two pages, side-by-side by “snapping” them to the sides of their PC screen. Firefox and Safari both already include tear-off tabs, allowing users to select tabbed items and turn them into separate windows .... Often a task must open several Web pages or screens. Advanced tabs in combination with Windows Aero Snap is a quick way to display two or two-page spread. To do this, simply drag the page in different screen and will appear next to each other. Reproduction of content sites and video are not violated.

Looks good to me!