After 5 long years, yesterday Microsoft finally announced Internet Explorer 7.0. Other than the thousands of security and stability patches that have been applied to IE6, this is by far the largest update since 2001. Microsoft has new built in security tools to supposedly make IE7 much safer than its predecessor. The final edition has been available for download from Microsoft’s website since yesterday, however it won’t appear in the “Windows Update” check until later next month.
Although IE7 is a major improvement over IE6, most Firefox users who upgrade will definitely not find any specific features as strikingly innovative. Microsoft’s IE7 page (hilariously) proudly presents the following as their browser’s new and innovative features:
- A New Theme & Layout
- Tabbed Browsing
- Better Printing
- RSS Feed Support
- Instant Search Box
- Improved security
The initial feature everyone is guaranteed to notice is tabbed browsing. Ignoring the other features, this is probably the most powerful addition to IE7. There is not much new it will bring for Firefox or Opera users, since they already have tabbed browsing, custom themes, search boxes, rss feeds, and are already much safer. The new layout will take quite a while to get adjusted too, since items such as the refresh, stop, and go buttons are now placed in quite awkward locations.
Despite the lack of new technology, this was a much needed and necessary update for Microsoft Internet Explorer. It is still hard to believe; disregarding the internal technical improvements, that this is all Microsoft could come up with over the last 5 years. If you wish to upgrade you can download it from microsoft.com/ie or wait until it is pushed out through Windows Update sometime next month. Whether you like it or not you better get used to it since it will be the default browser on all Windows machines for at least the next few years.
Links: Microsoft Internet Explorer 7
Related: IE7 Fact Sheet | Microsoft’s Announcement