Over the years I've tried a number of IE extensions that are supposed to make life better, but with IE7 and Vista most of those either became redundant or stopped working.

I got a ping recently about a new release of Quero that worked with IE7 and Vista and added some cool usability touches to IE7. It downloaded and installed with no problem - unlike a number of IE add-ons they've got the install right with some nice little touches... my favorite is not forcing me to close IE and the tabs I've got open to activate it... it leaves my current session alone and just started a new IE instance with the menus embedded and I could move over when I was ready.

So, what's cool about Quero? There's nothing show stopping or ground breaking about it (like for instance when Tabbed Browsing first appeared) - where it's shining is in incremental improvement

  • Type in keywords on the address bar and it uses your selected search engine to hunt for things. You can also highlight any phrase on the page and query it using your favorite search engine
  • Replaces the default address bar so you don't need to give up screen real estate - anything you could do in the standard address bar is duplicated
  • Ad blocker - no need for a separate ad blocker... popups, flash, IntelliTXT, divs... you have the final say on what gets shown on what sites. And it seems to do a pretty good job too - some sites that had problems loading with other ad blockers I've tried loaded clean with Quero. Of course, consider why and where you use ad blockers - a lot of smaller news and blog sites are supported by the ad impressions so blocking them everywhere might be a bad thing in the long run
  • Highlighting - Quero remembers your last search and you can highlight keywords on any page at any time
  • Zoom and resize - Want to see how the page looks like on an 800x600 monitor, or zoomed to 200%.. there's just one click away
  • IDN and phishing protections that extend the underlying capabilities with the added visual hint of highlighting the core domain name that's currently being viewed

So far Quero has managed to rack up the weekend on my machine - which for a simple add-on is a good score (I don't like running anything but vanilla unless I get a real benefit - just in case there are stability or compatibility issues) - we'll see how the week goes ;)

Quero also comes with a cool application launcher. I've not had time to try it yet but it allows you to launch multiple apps at pre-defined positions on your desktop in one hit. It even allows you to select multiple web pages to display in specific tabs in IE7 or open the same webpage in IE, Firefox and Opera for cross browser testing. That I'd add to my list of handy developer/debugging tools for IE.