Microsoft has finally, after five years, released an upgrade to Internet Explorer. Within days, Mozilla released version 2 of the popular Firefox web browser. So, what's new?
IE7 has tabs, Firefox2 has improved tabs
IE7 adds tabbed browsing, which allows you to open links in a new tab, without leaving the page you are on. This is especially useful when searching or shopping.
Firefox2 has added a close button to each tab, a list of recently closed tabs to the History menu, and the list of tabs now scrolls when there are too many to show.
IE7 has feeds, Firefox2 has enhanced feeds
IE7 now understands RSS, Atom, and other feed sources, to stay up-to-date with news, classified ads, and more.
Firefox2 has added support for viewing feeds and adding them to your favorite feed reader.
IE7 has a search box, Firefox2 has an improved search box
IE7 has added a search box that allows you to search the web more efficiently, using many different sites.
Firefox2 has integrated Google Suggest into its search box.
IE7 and Firefox2 have both added a phishing filter
Both browsers now alert you to forged websites.
IE7 can shink a printout to fit a single page
Firefox2 spell-checks your forms
IE7 has improved security
IE7 has made significant security gains to address persistant problems it has dealt with in previous versions, including the aforementioned phishing filter, safer web address interpretation, better control over ActiveX and add-ons, and pop-up windows now include an accurate address. IE7 also runs in protected mode, to ensure it can't do anything bad, but only on Windows Vista.
IE7 handles web technologies far better now
International web addresses, and some advanced styles now work in IE, and many display problems in IE6 have been fixed.
Firefox2 can remember your session
Firefox2 automatically restores your windows and tabs, history, in-progress downloads, and anything you typed into forms after a crash, upgrade, or whenever you start (if you've asked for it).
Conclusion: IE7 is largely playing catch-up for the time Microsoft left the product fallow, but Firefox isn't waiting around for it to catch-up.