MSN Brings Tabbed Browsing Early to IE

Microsoft includes tabbed browsing, already popular in Mozilla's Firefox browser, in an update to its MSN Search Toolbar.

Microsoft late Wednesday rolled out an updated version of its MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search, complete with tabbed browsing, designed to add another level of simplification while browsing the Web via Internet Explorer. Tab browsing has already been proved popular in Mozillas Firefox browser.

MSN Product Manager Justin Osmer said the rollout is significant because its the first time that tabbed browsing has been offered in a toolbar setting.

"Its a more powerful functionality in a pretty robust tool offering, which already has a number of differentiators with form fill and the access to MSN services in the toolbar" Osmer said. "We announced we were going to do tabbed browsing when we released the final version last month–and here it is."

The upgrade will allow users to open multiple sites, each in different windows with a tab at the top, directly underneath the menu bar–with the intention of making it easier to switch among pages.

The functionality also will let users save "routines" in an unlimited number of tabs, which have been dubbed "My Tabs." So, a user who routinely checks a weather site, two news sites and the family photo album can save each URL in a tab, and every time that person opens a browser, those sites will automatically appear in the tabs. Users will be able to edit their "My Tabs" as desired.

"The whole premise [of the tabbed browsing] is helping people find another way to find it quickly and easily, and it made a lot of sense to tie it into the toolbar," Osmer said.

New users of the MSN Search Toolbar will have the functionality if they download the program starting Wednesday evening; current toolbar users will be able to have the tabbed browsing automatically installed.

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