MSN Toolbar adds Tabbed Browsing to IE6

June 10, 2005

A new feature has been added to MSN Toolbar Suite that allows Internet Explorer 6 to have tabs. These tabs are what people have been asking for, but did the team at MSN create a product that delivers these tabs as well as say Firefox and Opera? The simple answer is a NO. The tabs, while useful, are very buggy. It is apparent that all the tabbing system does is hide the window and link it to a tab. This is noticeable when you change tabs, looking at the taskbar you can clearly see that a second IE window is opened and then hidden during the change. So it leads me to believe all that is going on is the window is hidden and linked to a tab. Once the tab has been selected Internet Explorer must redraw the entire page before you can begin browsing. The switching process is slow and sometimes painful. Stability wise I have yet to have any problems with Internet Explorer crashing during one of these changes, but as I said switching is not a speedy process like it is in say Firefox. Another problem with the tabbing system is it can only be used when the MSN Toolbar is enabled so quite a bit of precious screen space is wasted on the two bars. On the plus side its a great feature and a great idea for MSN to give its users of the toolbar. The problems that the feature has are most likely not even something that MSN can fix, it is probably a problem with IE6 since it wasn’t designed to have tabs in the first place. I have to give it to the team at MSN they seem to have their act together, delivering two features of Longhorn before the team at Windows can even show off a stable version of it. MSN Toolbar is a must have for its tabs and Desktop Search.

**Note: I do not use MSN Desktop Search because it does not index chats through AOL Instant Messenger, so I use Google Desktop, but I do think overall the MSN product is better minus that one major missing feature.***

My Review: 6/10
+: Great attempt for the MSN team. Its amazing how much faster they deliver a product over the Windows team.
-: Switching between tabs is slow and takes away from the browsing experience.

I recommend the product for users of Internet Explorer 6, but would say Firefox is a better choice if you want tabbed browsing. Hopefully the Windows team will deliver tabbed browsing in Internet Explorer 7 as well or better than it is in Firefox.

Download MSN Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search and Tabbed Browsing


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