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IE7 "Preview" -- Nearly Ready for Prime Time?

Microsoft released a preview of Internet Explorer 7 beta 2 to the general public on Tuesday.

The preview runs only on Windows XP Service Pack 2.

“I’m very excited we’ve released a public preview of beta 2 that everyone can download,” Chris Wilson, Microsoft group program manager for the IE platform and security, said on the company’s IEBlog site this morning.

The release is not a surprise. Microsoft announced in December that it planned to release the beta 2 build to the general public sometime this quarter.

Microsoft officials are clear to point out that they are not touting this “preview” as the full-scale consumer beta, however. In fact, this is not the beta 2 release.

New features coming with IE7 are tabbed browsing, an updated user interface meant to be easier to use and less demanding of screen real estate, support for real simple syndication (RSS) feeds, built-in “switchable” search, and improved security.

“[The preview is] a release for everyone involved in making the Internet work [so that] before we release a consumer-focused beta, we want to make sure anyone with a Web site can look at the changes we’ve made,” IE product unit manager Dean Hachamovitch said on IEBlog.

Interested parties can get beta 2 at Microsoft’s IE7 site.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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