Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 today with some interesting features. While IE still has a majority of the browser market share, it's unlikely that too many hardcore Firefox, Safari or Chrome (even with the extension capability) are going to be switching any time soon. Even so, IE users will appreciate the new features. Let's take a closer look as some are immensely important to Web professionals:
Accelerators let users speed up their routine tasks: map directions, translate words, email friends and more. By the looks of it (with accelerators like Blog with Windows Live Spaces) Microsoft is taking its current position in the browser market to better compete in markets where its services have been slow to take off. Check out the Web Slices feature below for how this might related to Web professionals.
InPrivate Browsing enables IE8 users to browse the Web without saving their history. This might be a popular feature for those on shared computers worried about the availability of browing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, usernames, passwords etc. InPrivate filtering, a feature of the former, provides users with another level of control and choice about the information that other websites can use to track their browsing activity. The impact on behavioral advertising (or any advertising really) is going to be major if users adopt the feature.
Web Slices is perhaps the most noteworthy addition in IE8. The feature enables user to keep track of their favorite content from the new Favorite Bar in IE8. Just like Accelerators, Micorsoft has taken a "platform-based approach" to Web Slices, enabling developers to create individual slices by simply adding a few lines of code to existing pages. When users hover their mouse over an item on a webpage that is Web sliced, an icon will appear notifying users they can add the slice.
Will this change your perception of IE8? Regardless of the answer, Web professionals should pay close attention to the conversations surrounding accelerators and slices. It's incredibly important news for both Web marketers, designers and developers.
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