Alert: Internet Explorer 7 downloads automatically

Microsoft will be releasing its new Internet Explorer 7 as an Automatic Update, according to a CNET report. This update stuff is a huge deal because: a) it will likely cause a quick, sharp drop in IE6 users since it’s automatically downloaded, and b) IE7 could cause certain layouts or features on your Web site to break because of changes and bug fixes.

The Web development team should begin combing through the Web site IMMEDIATELY with IE7 Beta 3 (find it here) if they haven’t started already. Also, staffs should be testing whatever content management systems or other Web-based software (e-mail, photo archives, etc.) to ensure that it all works in IE7. While IE7 won’t automatically install, it will automatically download.

When you install IE7 Beta, make sure it’s on a computer on which you don’t need IE6. Unfortunately, you cannot install more than one version of Internet Explorer without doing funky stuff like editing the computer’s registry (I know, I tried it!).

Browser testing panic aside, newspapers should re-examine their RSS feeds. IE7 features a user-friendly, built-in RSS system, which means that more people will likely start subscribing to your site’s feed.

Thought of delivering ads through the feed? Now might be a good time to ponder it considering the potential increase in RSS users. Only 80 of the 100 largest newspapers are now delivering ads through RSS, according to a recent study by the Bivings Group.