Yes, Microsoft has been bashed many a time over its Internet Explorer web browser. Yes, Firefox is better than the current Microsoft offering (until you encounter sites that are "optimized" for IE and don't load properly in the little orange browser).
But if you have visited Bill Gates' homepage lately, you'll notice a free download for a beta version of the next IE, version 7, that promises more security, faster downloads and generally just a better browsing experience.
After two days with IE7, I think Gates' folks have mostly succeeded. The new browser loads pages faster, allows for much faster switching between pages and generally just looks better.
Now instead of clicking the minimize button, or more, to change between websites, you can "tab" to a new site instantly. As you visit a site, you can click a small button near the top of the page to load a new browser window. Once you do that, you'll see your old page next to it with a small title of what the page is. This allows for much easier switching between pages.
This isn't a new thing, but it's new to IE and it works well.
Other features I liked were being able to resize pages before printing. With a touch of a button, you can shrink pages, by percentage, to fit on, say, one printer page, within the margins and you can see a print preview.
You can touch a button to subscribe to pages that have RSS feeds, like this one, to deliver the latest blogs and news updates to you when they are ready. The good ol' pop up blocker, which is handy, is back and Microsoft has added a new Phishing filter to let you check to make sure any website you visit is the real thing.
So when you get an email to reset the password for your PayPal and click the link in the email (and remember, we NEVER do that), you can get the page, which looks like PayPal, run the Phishing tool and find out if it's the real McCoy before you go typing in your mother's maiden name.
Searching is also easier. There's a search box in the upper right hand corner (no more tying in Google). You can pick from several search engines by pulling down an arrow key next to the box. Very easy. It's cake, really. And the new IE is, too.
But what do you think?