Firefox has offered the capability to turn RSS feeds into Live Bookmarks since version 1.0. Clicking a Live Bookmark icon from the Bookmarks menu displays a list of the headlines available from the selected feed. That's fine for a feed with punchy, descriptive headlines. It's a terribly inefficient way to read information-rich feeds, however, especially those that are packed with graphics and full text.
RSS feeds appear as formatted Web pages along with a link to subscribe to the feed.. Click image to enlarge and to launch image gallery.
Best of all, the RSS store is a system service that other applications can share. For instance, Outlook 2007, now in beta testing and scheduled for release with the rest of Office 2007 later this year, can share RSS subscriptions and downloaded items with IE7, so that you can subscribe to a feed in either program and view the same feed in a browser window or alongside e-mail messages. NewsGator, which sells RSS readers for virtually every operating system, has already announced its intention to support IE7's sync features.
Where does IE7 fall short?
Despite its excellent efforts, IE7 falls short of Firefox in two crucial areas.
Standards And Tabs
The other critical failing in IE7 is a weak set of password management tools. Just as in previous versions, IE7 can save a username and password combination for any Web page. But there's no way to edit saved passwords or copy them to a secure location. By contrast, Firefox allows you to view and manage saved passwords; it even imports saved passwords from IE7's protected store.
On a straight, feature-for-feature comparison, IE7 stacks up well against Firefox. If its improved security model lives up to its design specs, malware distributors will find it much more difficult to make a dishonest living, and the tabbed browsing features in the new release should make it much easier to deal with multiple pages.
The biggest hurdle that Internet Explorer has to overcome, however, is one that doesn't fit on any features chart. Its tattered reputation -- especially when it comes to security -- has created an indelible negative impression among the technically savvy users who've enthusiastically adopted Firefox so far. Even if the final release of IE7 improves mightily over the current beta, building that new and improved reputation will be an uphill climb.