Internet Explorer 6 is due to go gold next week and will be released on August 15 as a standalone program, according to software development sites.
BetaNews reports that Microsoft has sent an email to beta testers thanking them for their support and suggesting, barring last minute hiccups, that build 2530.1 of IE6 will go gold next week.
The main features added to IE 6 include automatic picture resizing, integrated media playback and support for the personal privacy standard, P3P (the Platform for Privacy Preferences), which (among other things) blocks third party cookies. The search function in the browser has gone through a revamp and there's improved support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and SMIL 2.0, which is useful for interactive media presentations.
As notable as what's included with the browser is the omission of Smart Tags, which turn words on Web sites into links pointed towards more detailed information. These destinations turned to be biased towards Microsoft sites in early betas of the product and, amid heavy criticism, the feature has been shelved.
Poor feedback from beta testers resulted in Microsoft deciding to abandon the much-vaunted Personal Bar and Contacts features from the finished version of Internet Explorer 6.
Internet Explorer 6 will be included in all flavours of Microsoft's operating system. It will also come with PCs shipped with Windows XP from October 25. ®
MS surrenders! IE not integrated with WinXP after all
Microsoft attaches strings to XP desktop real estate giveaway
Web sites! Banish those WinXP, IE6 smart tag blues!
Gates talks big on small IE6 cookie move
Get Real: MS reprises browser tactics with AOL bundle