Downloaded the new IE7 available to the general public. My thoughts:

  • Tabbed Browsing: Microsoft did a great job. The big news is that they finally have implemented tabbed browsing. I’ve used other IE alternatives over the years with this feature (MyIE2, NetCaptor, and of course Firefox as my alternate browser now) and it has been very useful.
  • Mass Visitations: No, that’s not a Catholic thing - just my nickname for my favorite feature of tabbed browsers. You can create “group” folders within your favorites. If clicked on, all websites in that folder open up simultaneously in separate tabs within your browser. When job hunting, just create a list of all the job sites that you wish to check frequently, along with employer’s “job posting” websites and put them in one group. Sit down on a Sunday afternoon and click and “poof!” - you are halfway-done. Microsoft implemented this process by allowing you just to click a different icon on your folders already in your favorites to accomplish the same thing.
  • RSS Feeds: RSS feeds and a feed reader are fully implemented. Now the other 90% of web surfers will finally be easily to start collecting feeds of blogs that interest them right inside their normal browser. This could radically increase the use and readership of blogs.
  • Thumbnails: There is a thumbnail view available of all tabbed windows open so you can quickly find the page you are looking for.
  • Zoom Zaniness: I’m not sure why anyone would want to zoom a webpage to 1000%, but IE7 can do it easily. And it actually works pretty good. Probably good for web designers to pick apart each others flaws.
  • Search Success: I’m probably the most excited about the new search function. As it is, I’ve always thought browsers that flaunt their search functions were just a bit nutty. But IE7 finally gets it right — and it keeps it simple and useful. The search box is, by default, in the upper right corner of the window and doesn’t take up valuable screen real estate. Of course, it defaults to for its results, but I quickly changed mine to Google. You can also create a quick-drop list of dozens of other search engines that you regularly use (including Walmart and Amazon) to change on the fly. When you type a term in the box, it automatically puts the results on a new tab. Finally. You could do this with IE6 and other browsers, but not without a little more effort, time, and lack of intuitiveness. But people will really use this now. It will probably take me about six months to break the habit of opening a new window to go to a search engine home page - my favorite is still Yahoo! - but that’s Bill Gates’ fault for making me wait 12 years for this feature.
  • Favorite Flaw: This is my biggest stink about IE7 and every other version. As someone who regularly keeps about 2000 favorites, I have to resort to third-party solutions to verify and categorize my favorites every so often. IE7 looks like it is staying with the same useless “Organize Favorites” feature as before. No improvement at all. Ugh!
  • Requested Feature: Should anyone from Microsoft be reading, here’s a feature I’ve yet to see on any browser, although admittedly I’ve never used Opera or Safari. When we are browsing a page that is already in our favorites (anywhere in our favorites), have the tab glow or highlight or something. Then, if we decide we don’t want it in our favorites anymore, we can just right-click the tab and say “Remove from Favorites”. It shouldn’t matter how we got to the page - whether we used our favorites or stumbled across it on the net. Also, as we web surfers tend to be a bit ADHD, we won’t attempt to add it a second time to our favorites. I regularly have over 50 duplicate sites when I clean out my favorites every six months or so. Don’t ask.
  • ClearType: Microsoft has decided to turn on ClearType by default when you install IE7. If you don’t know what ClearType is, you can find out here. For an interesting discussion of why the developers chose to do this, check out this post on the IEBlog (hosted by Microsoft). And yes, you can turn it off if you don’t like. But you probably will like it - or like me, be too lazy to hunt down the option. Keep in mind that ClearType affects all type in your system - on Outlook, Word, etc.
  • Installation: Incidentally, if you install the Beta 2, it will remove IE6, so you can not just “try it” easily. You’ll have to uninstall IE7 (good luck - I’m not helping you), and re-install IE6. Also, you’ll need to have XP Service Pack 2 installed prior to upgrading.

Technorati : Internet Explorer, Microsoft, beta

Posted in: Websurfing