Microsoft has released a beta 2 version of its Internet Explorer 7 web browser for free download, less than three months after releasing a “preview” version.
The beta 2 version is feature-complete, with a range of features added since the launch of IE6 in a bid to fend off increasing competition from the open source Firefox browser, which now accounts for 10% of the market.
IE7 includes new security measures designed to combat phishing attacks, spyware and other threats. Another feature allows users to clear their browsing history, passwords, form data and cookies in a single click.
IE7 also includes tabbed browsing, an enhanced search box, new printing features and a built-in RSS feed reader.
Microsoft has also launched a new Internet Explorer add-ons site, offering hundreds of extras to extend the browser’s capabilities.
The final release of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP is expected to be in the second half of this year, ahead of the expected January 2007 launch date for Microsoft’s new Vista operating system.