I spoke to Microsoft earlier today about the beta 2 release of Internet Explorer, which can now be downloaded. Here are three features MS says will make web browsing faster and more intuitive:
- Faster web browsing – MS says it has spent hours in usability labs videoing users to see what they do when web browsing. In IE8 it has attempted to automate the common tasks people do. I often use Streetmap to get a map and figure out directions for a meeting. In IE8, when I right mouse click on the address, MS’ accelerator web service brings up a list of options, one of which can be set to take the address from the my current web page and pass it on to my mapping service – Streetmap.
- Quicker URLs – While in IE7, when you type in a partial URL, you are presented with a list of recent sites, MS now checks a partial URL name based on recent sites, History and Favourites. Any part of the URL can be keyed in.
- Visual Search – This works if you have opted to download an Open Search Description File from a supported site like eBay, Amazon or the New York Times. These web sites and others that use OSDF present images and text in the search preview window as you type in a search term.
I downloaded the IE8 beta 2 earlier. It eventually installed on my PC, after Windows update had downlaoded all those Windows XP patches I had avoided installing.It seems to run OK. I was hoping to write my blog entry using it. But there’s a bug somewhere becuase the Moveable Type engine wasn’t playing game, I I used Firefox instead. Oh well IE8 is a beta. I’m hoping to have acloser look at these features over the next few postings.