Internet Explorer 7 is finally here! The next version of the Microsoft browser is now available for download, eight months after Bill Gates announced plans to deliver it. This is the first update to the browser since the release of IE6 in August 2001 - and hasn't the Internet changed in that time!

Reflecting these myriad changes in the Internet landscape, IE7 has several new features, including support for HTML 4.01, CSS 2, tabbed browsing, an integrated RSS feed reader, improved anti-phishing features and much, much more.

Security is another matter: Microsoft is touting IE7 as the most secure Microsoft browser so far, but those words may well come back to haunt them - probably quite soon. Already security gurus have uncovered an information disclosure vulnerability in IE7, which could be used in various phishing attacks.

So far, only the English version of IE7 for XP is available, with Arabic, Finnish, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish language versions coming some time in the next two weeks or so. Stay tuned.

The new version currently available works on Windows XP with Service Pack 2 installed, as well as Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and Windows 64-bit Edition. Already, there is a customised version from Yahoo! that no doubt comes with toolbars and all sorts of stuff added.

"With each release, your feedback helped us make IE7 better. Your contributions, ideas, and direct comments were crucial in helping us prioritize and focus our work," IE general manager Dean Hachamovitch said. "I can’t imagine delivering this product without the tremendous cooperation we enjoyed from so many of you as well as developers and partners."