Thanks to Leen Snoek for tipping me off to the surreptitious pre-release of what will likely be called Internet Explorer 5.5 Beta 1 when the company officially announces it later this week. The executable installer for this latest beta version of IE 5.5 is currently available from the Microsoft Web site, though there are no pages as yet that link to it. The original pre-beta release, which Microsoft referred to as a developer-only "Platform Preview," was recently taken off the Microsoft site, lending further credence to the likeliness of the imminent release.
For the end-user, Internet Explorer 5.5 doesn't exactly offer up a compelling feature set when compared to its predecessor, IE 5.01. IE 5.5 adds a nifty Print Preview feature, however, which is a worthy addition. Beyond that, however, IE 5.5 is basically a bug fix release with no other news features; Developers may be interested in some of the new HTML enhancements. IE 5.5 is the version of IE that will ship in Microsoft's next consumer Windows, Windows Millennium Edition (Windows ME).
If you're interested in checking out the upcoming IE 5.5 Beta 1 release, check out this link while it's still up. If this link becomes unavailable (and it probably will), expect the official public release in the next few days.
Microsoft is also working on a Service Pack 1 update for IE 5.01 users that is due early this summer