Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Reviewed

March 3, 2006 darnell

Microsoft has finally released the first public glimpse into Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2. Many changes have come, mostly in interface and simple functionality. Throughout this review we’ll go over the new basic features.

Interface

The first major interface change that you’ll notice when starting Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) is the new simple layout. On default the “Classic Menu” toolbar and the “Links” toolbar are turned off. In replacement are five buttons on the right side of the tab bar. They are, in order, Home, Feeds, Print, Page options, and Tools.

Home

The home button is exactly like the old home button, aside from the redesigned look. Just clicking it will take you back to the default home page, if you click the arrow to the right of it; it gives you the option to change the homepage.

Feed

The feeds button is brand new to Internet Explorer. If you come across a website that has RSS feeds then they will automatically appear under that menu, just clicking the arrow to the right of it will display them. Clicking them will take you to the page where you can view the feed. If you’d then like to subscribe to it just click “Subscribe to this feed”. To access your feeds click the “Favorites Center” button (Star) on the far left of the tab bar. From there a small window will appear, click feeds.

Print

The print button does what it says, when pressed it prints the current page. If you click the arrow to the right of it, it drops down a menu where you can select print preview, page setup, or print.

Page Options

The Page Options drop down menu provides functions such as new window, copy, cut, paste, zoom, text size, source code, and save as.

Tools

Since the Classic Menu is not on default the Tools button/menu makes up for all of the lost functionality. From this menu you can turn on/off different toolbars, delete browsing history, turn on pop up blockers, manage add-ons, etc. One of the newest features is the Phishing Filter. Phishing is sending emails to people that falsely claim to be banks or credit card companies in hopes that you’ll surrender personal information. This information can lead to identity left. With this feature IE7 will automatically check each visited website for signs of Phishing. You can also report the website from this menu. You can also access the standard internet options from this menu as well.

Of course another feature that you’ll immediately notice is the fact that Microsoft added tabbed browsing to IE7, something that was made popular by other browsers like Opera and Firefox. IE7’s tabbed browsing works much like any others. To close the current tab you just click the red “x” on the active tab. To open a new tab you must click the small tab that comes out the right of the tab farthest to the right, or you could just press Ctrl+T.

The other feature that Microsoft was pressured to include in its next release was the search feature. This feature works much like the Firefox search (also located in the same spot). It comes default on Yahoo, but also can be switched to MSN or with a simple click of the mouse, Google. To add Google and other engines just click the right arrow next to magnifying glass and select “Find more providers…” You can add engines like Wal-Mart, Weather.com, and USA Today. The best part is once you click the one you want a message pops up confirming you want to add this search. Click “Add Provider” and the search is automatically added, no restart needed.

There are some other minor changes with buttons and the locations of those buttons. For starters the stop button is located on the right of the address bar; the refresh button is also over there. The back and forward buttons are redesigned and smaller. The favorite’s center is a new feature that offers and easy way to view history, favorites, and feeds you’ve subscribed to.

For the most part that’s about it for the interface features. Of course there is the new look and logo, but those are interface changes that don’t affect your normal browsing.

Features

We’ve already covered a lot of new features like tabbed browsing, search, the new buttons, and the favorite’s center. However now we’re going to go over stuff like the Phishing filter, the changes in the pop-up blocker, feeds, and a new thing we haven’t even mentioned yet, quick tabs.

Phishing Filter

As we mentioned before phishing is when an email is sent to you that falsely claims to be a bank or a credit card company that you would share private information with. Because you share private information with a credit card company or bank when you receive that email you are tricked into believing that they need your information. They usually will direct you to a website, which is where this new feature comes in. The phishing filter will automatically detect if the website that you are currently visiting is a phishing website, or in other words it is asking for person information that it is going to use improperly. Usually the people that run phishing websites are trying to obtain information to access bank accounts or steal your identity.

Pop-Up Blocker Changes

The new pop-up blocker settings window lets you have more control over the pop-up blocker that is built into Internet Explorer. For starters you can insert a web address into a list; the addresses in that list will always display pop-ups. You can also change the filer settings from medium (default) to low or high depending on how often you get pop-ups.

RSS Feeds

As we stated before to save an RSS feed on a webpage just click the sound waves icon next to the home icon on the right of the tab bar. Click the feed you want, then on the ensuing page click “Subscribe to this feed”. Then to access your saved feeds, click the star on the left hand side of the tab bar. This opens the favorite’s center. Once the favorite’s center opens click the feeds button. All your feeds are displayed so you can see what’s new. Click the feed you want and that feeds, feed page appears.

Now there are some features on the RSS feed page that can come in handy. To start out there is a search box on the right hand side of the screen. From here you can search for any term and the box will look and see if one of those RSS feeds has that term in it. Best of all it narrows down the results live. You can also display results by unread or all, and also sort by date and time.

Quick Tabs

Quick Tabs is probably one of the coolest new features of IE7. When there is two or more tabs open a new icon appears directly to the left of the first tab. If you click that it will bring up a window that lets you visualize your open tabs. It shows you a screen shot of what is in that window, tells you the title, and shows a small “x” in the top right so you can close your windows. In the quick tabs mode you can right click a certain window and it’ll refresh that web page, showing a new thumbnail.

Missing Features

Some minor features are left out, nothing that would make IE7 unusable. For starters it’d be nice to have the option to rearrange the tabs in any order that you wish. This feature just came out in Firefox and hopefully will transfer over to IE7 by the time its final release comes. I also hope that when they release the final version in Windows Vista, there will be more add-ons that might be able to rival the extensions on Firefox. And also there are obviously some minor bugs but that is expected and excused because of its beta stage.

All in All

If you enjoy using the latest products and don’t mind some minor problems with a beta product then I would definitely download IE7, however if you’re unsure about beta software just wait until its final release with Windows Vista.

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