Thursday, June 09, 2005

Microsoft brings tabbed browsing to IE 6

Microsoft has released the new MSN Toolbar for Internet Explorer. This offers a few excellent features like a powerful desktop search tool and even tabbed browsing for Internet Explorer 6 - so this means users do not have to wait for IE 7.

The Tabbed Browsing feature is quite convenient to use - It can be turned on and off, new tabs can be opened either individually or as a set of new background tabs using QuickTabs. Search results can open in their own tabs. A set of keyboard shortcuts enable easy tab usage - Ctrl+T opens a tab, Ctrl+Tab switches between open tabs. The context menu has options to open a link as a new tab, either in the background or foreground.

The Desktop Search is quite powerful and fast. It indexes files, emails, attachments and enables you to query them on the fly. The complete list of file-types supported is quite extensive. Add-ins exist to provide in-depth searches in PDFs, zip files, etc. There is an API to write new add-ins, if you're so inclined. The iFilter developer forum is active and easy to browse.

tabbed Browsing example
Tabbed browsing at work

A Deskbar gives you the search functionality outside the browser. The results open a new browser window. Additional options on the toolbar include links to MSN Spaces, Hotmail, News and Messenger.

That being said, I am still a huge fan of the A9 toolbar - the neat Diary feature lets me annotate websites for later reference. The form fills, history and lists options provide convenient ways to not have to remember my browsing trail. The A9 search engine, with it's verticalization of search options is the future of searching, I hope. It has enabled my 12-step Google de-addiction program, of which more later.

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