Microsoft released Internet Explorer 7 the other day. Since I'm required to use it for some of our programs at work, I went ahead and upgraded to the latest version. Needless to say, I'm totally unimpressed.
It looks just like Firefox. They ripped off most of the interface (including a search box in the upper-right corner) and gave the browser pretty much all of the features that Firefox and Opera users have been using for years now. This includes tabbed browsing and subscribing to RSS feeds. It has a strong "me too" feel about it. There's nothing innovative here, and we'll still have to deal with IE's terrible rendering of web pages. Microsoft has hyped up and given us a catch up product. I expected better after five years.
The worst part is that it actually removes functionality that was present in IE6 that I actually liked. I would condense the menus, navigation buttons, and location bar into a single bar to save space on the page. I'd then tack on the Links toolbar and the Google Toolbar. Well, IE7 will have none of that customization stuff. You can't move the location bar. You can't customize the navigation buttons. You can't have the menus share space with the location or navigation bars. Now I'm stuck with fewer of the options I want to see AND more space taken up by toolbars. Not. Cool.
It's also only for folks using Windows XP SP2, so if you're like me and have held out on an older version of Windows (or your copy of Windows is, er, "borrowed"), you're SOL on browser updates. Do yourself a favor. Unless you absolutely have to use IE for something, go grab the new version of Firefox (2.0 was just released today) and enjoy all of the goodies without all of the headache.