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Debuggers Needed, Internet Explorer 7 Beta Released
Microsoft has just made a beta version of Internet Explorer 7 available for anyone interested in a) checking out what the new & improved web browser looks like, and b) helping Microsoft iron out bugs, as is the nature of "beta" software.
Posted April 25, 2006
By NEWSROOM, EVERGEEK MEDIA
 
Microsoft has just made a beta version of Internet Explorer 7 available for anyone interested in a) checking out what the new & improved web browser looks like, and b) helping Microsoft iron out bugs, as is the nature of "beta" software.

Get it at microsoft.com/ie, where you're immediately presented with the catchy little strap line "We heard you. You wanted it easier and more secure. Introducing Internet Explorer 7." Microsoft undoubtedly employed a great many focus groups and digested a king's banquet of user feedback, but that strap line could have just as easily read, "We saw you raving about our competitors. We did something about it. Come back." Admittedly, that probably wouldn't have made it past the second intern at MS Corporate Communications, but it works.

Though Internet Explorer is far and away the most predominant web browser out there--it's pretty much synonymous with Windows, the likewise predominant PC operating system--its popularity has been waning over the last year or two as the likes of Firefox (mozilla.com/firefox), Macintosh's embedded web browser, Safari (apple.com/safari), and others each offer arguably better, clearly more intuitive end user interfaces and features that the current version of Explorer (6.0) doesn't. Too, alternatives are often touted as more secure, though that's a dubious distinction when you consider that nobody cares to see a pip-squeak bleed, but everyone loves a good Goliath story, so hackers go after the giant. It's safe to assume that if and when Firefox gets to critical mass, its so-called security measures will be just as gleefully targeted by hackers as IE's.

At any rate, Internet Explorer 7 has been redesigned and enhanced to match the look and functionality of competing browsers and, presumably, attempts to do it better. Furthermore, users oblivious to competitive offerings will no doubt be amazed by the apparent newness of things like Tabbed Browsing (view multiple sites in a single browser window), Quick Tabs (thumbnail view of favorites/bookmarks), Tab Groups (categorization scheme), Advanced Printing (shrink-to-fit web page printing), Favorites Center (sub category for favorites), Page Zoom (like Viagra for web pages), and integrated RSS feed support where you favorite web sites will stream their latest headlines right into a tab on your browser, updating itself in real-time, probably the coolest new feature of the bunch but one that Firefox users have been enjoying for quite some time now.

But that's the nature of technological advancement; see a cool idea, make it better. It's not a case of Microsoft ripping off the competition, it's a case of the competition addressing certain Microsoft browser issues, and making fixes/adjustments/improvements available in a different browser before Microsoft does theirs. Then, when Microsoft does get around to it, it's with a rather large bang that sucks a lot of wind from a lot of competitive sails.

Next on the evolutionary scale, Firefox et al will try to improve on IE's improvements, and so on. Can't we all just get along? Not on your life. However, we can all get better in a never-ending game of one-upmanship.

Again, bear in mind that as a "beta," Explorer 7 may not work the same for everybody and may not work at all for some, but that's what it's all about. Unfriendly userfulness, glitches, bugs, and crashes are noted and fixes are made by the time the acceptably stable, bona fide real 7 deal becomes available later this year. Wait for that or consider yourself a non-paid intern at Microsoft's worldwide house of software de-buggers.
 
 
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Newsroom Notes
Debuggers Needed, Internet Explorer 7 Beta Released

File Under:
Announcement, Microsoft, Windows PC
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