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IE7 Beta For Windows XP Reviewed

I just finished trying out Internet Explorer 7 (no thanks to Microsoft’s PR department), and while it is an evolution over IE6 (XP SP2), it is certainly no revolution. I’ve got a few nice screenshots for you fellas, and I’d like to thank Adam Lasnik for providing me with the Flickr Pro Account, which makes all this easier on me and my bandwidth.

IE7

The biggest problem with IE7 is that there isn’t much different. The only differences I could really notice were the tabs, feed discovery, and phishing filter (which doesn’t obviously do much).

The tabs are better than IE6 with the MSN Toolbar, equal to default Firefox tabs, and not as good as AOL Explorer’s (or Firefox with any number of extensions). Tab switching is quick and seamless (no annoying flicker). You can switch and manipulate tabs with the keyboard, close them, close all other tabs.

What you can’t do is drag the tabs around (something so useful in AOL Explorer that I don’t know how I lived without it), tear-off tabs, save tabs as a set, or open a folder in seperate tabs.I hope Microsoft plans on implementing more features. You can open a link in new tabs, but you can’t specify background or foreground, at least not with the mouse.

Regardless of some bad reporting out there, the Google Toolbar does work in IE7. In fact, since Google was my default search engine in IE6, it is in IE7. Microsoft didn’t touch that. Very “not evil”.

The phishing filter is only evident by an early dialog box asking you if you want to use it. If anyone can direct me to a PayPal forgery website, I can actually test if it works.

IE7 phishing filter

The feed discovery is rudimentary. It shows you the first feed linked to on the page, and no others. I would like it if IE7 showed my comments feed, and, on post pages, the feeds for those posts. This is just another feature that needs more depth. Clicking the feed button on the toolbar:

IE7 feed discovery

Brings up the rudimentary feed display:

IE7 feed display

Which allows you to view a quick-loading webpage and not view any ads, costing the site owner revenue. Uh, I mean, it lets you view a preview of the feed. Right. At least it displays feed ads well, which is going to become a requirement if people start using this feature:

IE7 feed diplay w. ad

You can “subscribe” to the feed, but all you are really doing is bookmarking the page, nothing like an RSS reader. I’ve heard this version of IE will eventually use a “common feed list”, so maybe bookmarking the feed will eventually allow RSS readers to know which feeds to grab. We’ll have to wait and see on that one as well.

So, the verdict: Three new, promising features, none of which are ready yet. Oh, they aren’t buggy at all. Everything runs as it should. This is more of a “Google beta”, in the sense that the product may work, but it is missing some key features. I’d like to hope that those features are on the IE7 team’s to-do list, and not confined to this post.

July 29th, 2005 Posted by | General, Internet Explorer | 14 comments



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14 Comments »

  1. Nice review! :)
    Any chance of us getting out little paws on IE7 too? :D

    Comment by pentapenguin | July 30, 2005

  2. Bit torrent man, that’s all I’m gonna say.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | July 30, 2005

  3. Quote: *The tabs are … equal to default Firefox tabs*

    Different quote: *What you can’t do is drag the tabs around … save tabs as a set, or open a folder in seperate tabs.

    Both of the latter you can do in Firefox default, (in fact, you could save tabs in a set in plain old Mozilla) so in what way are IE7′s tabs “equal”?

    Comment by Nick | July 31, 2005

  4. True, but this is a beta. The final version of IE7 will have those features, so I can’t knock it just because they aren’t in beta 1.

    Meanwhile, how in the holy hell does Firefox not have tab dragging? AOL Explorer does it so well, so why not Firefox?

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | July 31, 2005

  5. Man the images u posted are barely visible…spare bandwidth and put something we can actaully make out.
    other wise nice article

    Comment by xusen | August 1, 2005

  6. Firefox 1.1 will have tab dragging without the need for an extension.

    Comment by Benni | August 1, 2005

  7. Opera got tab dragging by default in 2003 / 2004 i think..

    Comment by André | August 1, 2005

  8. Well I downloaded IE7 out of curiousity and I can say it is better than IE6, but it’s no Firefox killer. I think good ol’ Microsoft needs to get it’s finger back on the pulse here. I want to see innovation, not replication. Copying a competing system and then burying it may have worked with netscape, as they used to charge, but the new enemy is free, so you have to do something spectacular to get people to switch. The other point is how many people are going to bother upgrading anyway?

    Comment by Mark Coleman | August 1, 2005

  9. Susen, people are always complaining that my site loads too slowly. Are you saying I should just tell them to go to hell?

    Benni, you mean Firefox 1.5, right?

    Andre: Poor ole’ Opera. No respect!

    Mark: When you really think about it, in terms of UI, Firefox has few differences from IE. Microsoft is implementing those, and trying out some new things. Maybe eventually osomeone else will find a new feature we can’t live without. Till then, its going to be small steps. Keep in mind, there’s a reason Microsoft disbanded the IE team years ago. They’ll work their asses off the next three years, then scale back the team again once there’s nothing left to do.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | August 1, 2005

  10. What Microsoft don’t like to admit is that IE7 uses gecko now. Which means that all browsers using gecko will get flooded with spy and adware, which Firefox didn’t help with.

    So far IE7 is nothing to write home about. Maybe by final it’ll have something unique to it’s self, not just cloaning all other browsers on the market.

    Comment by Jordan | August 1, 2005

  11. Please don’t just say things that aren’t true.

    Unless you are referring to that April Fools prank from two years:

    http://weblogs.macromedia.com/jd/archives/2003/04/ie7_to_use_geck.cfm

    In which case you are the only one who was fooled.

    IE7 doesn’t use Gecko, which we know because of one, simple fact: They don’t support the same standards.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | August 1, 2005

  12. THe nightly builds of Firefox (Deer Park Alpha)have had ‘tabb dragging’ incorporated for at least a few months now.

    Comment by Rob Tremor | August 1, 2005

  13. Yes, Rob, they may have tabb dragging, but when will they have tab dragging?

    Hehe. I’m such an ass.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg | August 2, 2005

  14. [...] InsideMicrosoft posted a review of Internet Explorer 7.0. It is an honest review with some very good points: I just finished trying out Internet Explorer 7 (no thanks to Microsoft’s PR department), and while it is an evolution over IE6 (XP SP2), it is certainly no revolution. I’ve got a few nice screenshots for you fellas, and I’d like to thank Adam Lasnik for providing me with the Flickr Pro Account, which makes all this easier on me and my bandwidth. [...]

    Pingback by The Microsoft Show » Microsoft Insider: IE7 review | October 22, 2005

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