Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2
Internet Explorer 7 is here. Well, at least the beta is and it’s pretty cool. I’ve been playing around with this all morning. I’ve been checking out the features and I would have to say that Microsoft is raising the bar in the Internet browser wars. This is more than adding tabbed browsing to IE, it has all kinds of new features and add-ons that I think everyone will enjoy.
Out at the IE 7 download page, Microsoft has actually put together some nice informative that you can easily navigate through to find answers and resources. There is a pre-install checklist, a support page with a set of FAQs for those who may have questions and release notes detailing known issues between the browser and other applications. You can also take a tour of IE 7 so you know what to expect before opening up the new browser for the first time.
If you meet all the criteria for using IE 7 and go through the extremely long download/installation process, you’ll be presently surprised with the new look of IE. First off, you’ll notice the sleek interface. Microsoft has really put an emphasis on less obstruction from their browser. Amazingly enough, the simpler interface hasn’t taken any functionality away from Microsoft’s new browser. On the contrary, this browser is stuffed to the rafters with great new features.
The Favorite Center is what Microsoft is calling their new integrated favorites, which boasts improved performance in accessing the users favorite sites and RSS feeds. That’s right, now with IE, you can view RSS feeds directly from you browser.
Tabbed browsing has been around for a while in beta as a download for IE 6, so it’s really no surprise that Microsoft decided to instill this technology into their new browser. After using the new tabbed browsing scheme that Microsoft came up with, I can honestly say that it has some of the nicest features I have seen in this area. You can save all the tabs you have open in the browser as a tab group, label it and pull it back up anytime you need to. Another cool feature that Microsoft added to its version of the tabbed browsing experience is the Quick Tabs feature. This is a button on the toolbar that, when activated, will bring up a thumbnail view of all your current tabs, so you can easily get to the site you want.
Integrated Search Bar:
Another great feature Microsoft added to its Internet browser is a beefed up search bar capable of searching many different search engines at once. You can get the most out of your online searches by comparing the results of different search engines and with IE 7, you can open up the search results in a new tab to keep everything organized.
RSS feeds, in case you’re not familiar with the term, are a relatively new service that has been gaining great popularity. With RSS Feeds, you can monitor specific sites without having to actually go out to the site. This is a great feature for news or anything that you want to stay up-to-date on and find it difficult to go out and view everyday. The RSS feed itself is usually a headline or brief summary of what the Web site or blog has added or changed. With the IE 7 beta, you can view you RSS feeds right through the interface of the browser. Why open another program just to view your RSS feeds when you can view them right from your browser? This feature is also incredibly easy to use. Simply go to a Web site that offers an RSS feed sign up and click on the Add to Favorites button. That’s it, you can now click on your favorites button, RSS feeds and see a list of all the feeds you are subscribed for.
Along with all the fun stuff, Microsoft has also implemented some security features into their new browser to help protect users while online. In particular, the browser has one new feature: the anti-phishing service. The anti-phishing service on IE 7 can tell if a site is redirecting you to a site other than the one it is posing as. This is the concept of phishing (spoof legitimate Web sites) and IE 7 does a good job of warning users with a popup in the address bar.
In addition to the anti-phishing feature, IE 7 also monitors the browser to ensure that no malicious programs install as a result of surfing the Web.
Believe it or not, there are even some add-ons that you can download and install to increase the functionality of IE 7. There’s not a lot of add-ons out there right now and they are not all free like they are for Firefox, but IE 7 is still in beta, so we’ll see how that goes. You can view the add-ons for download here.
I know you guys are chopping at the bit to download this new browser, but I suggest you go through the Microsoft checklist before installing. You may also want to go through the online tour of the program to get a good idea of what to expect before you install it. There is also a set of Release Notes that some of you may want to take a look at. They cover known issues between the browser and some other programs and settings.
Other than that, you may want to take a look at the system requirements and have fun.
|Computer/Processor||Computer with a 486/66-MHz processor or higher (Pentium processor recommended)|
|Operating System||Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2)|
|Memory||For Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2: Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and for Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1): 32 MB of RAM minimum. Full install size: 12 MB|
|Drive||CD-ROM drive (if installation is done from a CD-ROM)|
|Display||Super VGA (800 x 600) or higher resolution monitor with 256 colors|
|Peripherals||Modem or Internet connection, Microsoft Mouse, Microsoft IntelliMouse, or compatible pointing device|
~ Chad Stelnicki