Internet Explorer 7: Beta 2 Preview checklists: "Evaluation of Internet Explorer 7 should start now, but the software should not be used on production systems in mission-critical environments. Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview will only run on Windows® XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) systems, but will ultimately be available for Windows Vista, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and Windows Server 2003."
Once you have seen that site you REALLY need to go to http://www.ie7.com/ for something even better!
If you have looked at the tour in the first link you will have seen see the features below - now shown with their firefox counterparts (Opera also has many of these features but as Firefox is the browser that I use day to day at the moment* that is what I have concentrated on) *I may switch to Flock for general browsing in the near future and leave firefox for development work.
IE7 Feature list
[+ Firefox counterparts]
The new design, including consolidated menu items, smaller icons, and an overall decrease in toolbar height, optimizes the space on your screen so you see more of the websites you're visiting.
[There are plenty of Firefox themes to facilitate this]
The new Favorites Center makes it even easier to manage your favorite websites, your browsing history, and your RSS feeds with just a few clicks.
[Bookmarks and browser history are also found in firefox - there is a firefox extension that allows you to view your browsing trail too].
Whether you're searching the web, comparing prices, or just staying on top of your favorite topic, Internet Explorer 7 lets you view many different websites at one time — all within one organized window.
[Firefox - in default build]
How to Use Tabbed Browsing
Launch Internet Explorer 7 and your home page opens in the first tab. To view other sites at the same time, just click the new tab button New Tab icon in the toolbar and then type the address of the site you want to visit in the address bar. Your home page stays open in the first tab.
[Right click on the toolbar, click customise and drag the tew tab icon onto the toolbar - but clicking on tabs is slow - use CTRL+T as the keyboard shortcut instead. You can also right click on a tab and select new tab].
Closing tabs is as easy as opening them. Just click the close button Close Tab icon that appears on the right side of the selected tab.
[Firefox has a single close button on the right - but the Deerpark 2 builds (Firefox 1.6a) have close buttons on each individual tab, I'm sure there are tab extensions that would provide this functionality in Frirefox 1.5 - but I find it unncessary - if you are viewing a tab - CTRL+W will close it for you].
When you have several tabs open, use Quick Tabs Quick Tabs icon to find the site you want to view or to close sites you're no longer interested in viewing.
[The firefox extension FoXpose will fo this for you. Just like Expose on the Mac].
Internet Explorer 7 brings your favorite web search providers to you. With the built-in search box, you can search the web at any time without having to open a search provider page. You can display search results in a separate tab, and then open the results in other tabs to quickly compare sites and find the information you want. You can even customize your search by setting your favorite search provider as the default.
[Firefox - in default build]
Just type your search terms at any time and press Alt-Enter — Internet Explorer 7 displays your results in a new tab so you don't lose the site you're currently viewing.
[Firefox - identical functionality in default build]
The Power of Multiple Search Providers
You can choose which search provider you want to use as your default and then compare its results with those of other search providers by choosing another search provider from the list. You can also add search providers by selecting "Get Search Provider" from the dropdown list.
[Firefox - you can also select providers in firefox by default].
Don't waste time checking many different sites and blogs for updates. Just select the sites or topics you care about and Internet Explorer 7 delivers all the new headlines and updates to your Favorites Center.
[Firefox has had the live bookmearks feature fora while now]
News agencies and other dynamic sites now offer a service called RSS Feeds or RSS. With RSS Feeds the website can feed or download information such as top headlines, current travel discounts, sports scores, and other timely content throughout the day to subscribers.
If the RSS Feed icon RSS Feed icon on Internet Explorer 7 is illuminated, it means the site offers a feed. You can subscribe by clicking the Add/Subscribe button Add/Subscribe icon. Come back to the page later by opening your Favorites Center. Now you can read news when it arrives and click headline links to get the complete webpage.
[Firefox has many additional RSS feed readers - Sage being my particular favourite]
Internet Explorer 7 helps keep your information safe by alerting you to potential phishing sites — sites that look legitimate but actually are designed to capture your personal information. It's also easier to see which sites provide secure data exchange, so you can shop and bank online with confidence.
[Only time will tell with this one - no browser has or will ever have an unblemished security record - Historically IE6 had an aweful record - but it was the most popular and therefore most targeted browser]
For more articles see:
MonkeyBites links to ZDNET and Slashdot
Having said all that - IE7 is certainly an improvement on IE6 - which is definitely a good thing... many of the features and indeed the interface resemble that of Firefox... this includes the well documented standardisation of the RSS feed icon as well as the addition of a tools icon that is very similar to that used in Firefox
Funny things - non-secure content is not displayed by default - this includes Microsoft's own passport service (i.e Hotmail login). Interestingly though - Hotmail links can be opened in new tabs - firefox requires an extension to accomplish this.