Microsoft today launched the Beta 2 release of Internet Explorer 7, emphasizing new security features designed to defeat security problems that affected earlier editions.
The company's new standalone browser follows a preview release in January and a layout-complete build that debuted at MIX 06 in March.
IE7 adds a tabbed interface and improves on browser security. Microsoft has also built into the browser an RSS platform that provides a framework for downloading, storing and accessing RSS feeds across Windows.
Security features such as ActiveX controls are being disabled by default and the browser integrates Microsoft's Phishing Filter, which informs users if they are visiting known phishing sites, and indicates such by displaying a red shield with a white X on it. IE7 also locks down cross site scripting and international domain names to prevent malicious use.
On the interface side, Microsoft says it has worked to make IE7 simpler, more streamlined and less cluttered. A page zoom feature has also been added to aid those with vision disabilities. When a page is zoomed, images are also enlarged along with text.
Microsoft has rolled out a new add-on site to go along with Beta 2, which is located at IE 7
IE7 Beta 2 installs atop IE6, but users can remove the test release and revert back if necessary. Users of the IE7 Beta 2 Preview and MIX 06 interim build must uninstall those versions before installing Beta 2. IE7 is available here
Designed especially for the delayed Windows Vista operating system, the new browser is intended to address concerns over security risks that were specifically aimed at earlier IE versions.
Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 is available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants. Although English is the only language currently offered, Arabic, Finnish, German and Japanese versions will follow early next month.
The final version of Internet Explorer 7 is expected to launch around the same time as Vista in 2007.