Well, I just got back from a 3 city roadshow speaking for Angelbeat (http://www.angelbeat.com/). My presentation was on IE8. I thought I would take a couple minutes to just fill you all in on some of the really cool stuff coming. For those that are on the developer side, (and those that have to pay developers) you will be pleased to know that the next version of IE will be "standards" based. No longer will developers have to write one page to render for each version of MS browser and another for all the other browsers. For this one I say thank you to all of you for leaning on MS to get this done. Thanks also goes out to Microsoft for listening to the requests and putting this in the product.
So what are the new features?
Faster and Easier to do "stuff" (that's my technical term) - If there is an address on the screen that you want to get a map to it just select it and hit the "Activity" button that pops up and select Map and you are there... a small map comes up overlaying the screen and if you want to blow it up, just click on it and it will open in another tab or another browser (depending on your settings) Stuff includes many other things like language translation, search, blog, etc. Just highlight the text and the features are available.
Check out the Web Slice stuff. That is very cool. For all those online auction junkies out there you will love the Web Slice. Facebook and other slices available too. Picture going to ebay and adding an item to your favorite bar (hey the favorite bar is actually used for something productive now) then from anywhere you can pop the web slice [mini popup overlay about 2"x2" that pops up to show you the status of the item without having to browse to it]. You can pop it and look at it regardless of what other sites you may be on in your browser. it is just always there.
Search Providers I do not think it is a surprise to anyone that Live.com is my favorite search engine. But with IE 8 there is a search bar in the upper right corner (to the right of the address bar) that allows you to do a search (like a toolbar without having to have a toolbar) the best part of this feature is you can set any number of different engines. You can use Live.com, Yahoo, Ask, or anyone else you want to use as the default. You can have non-standard search engines also. Some examples... Walmart search, Target search, ESPN search, CNET search or whatever. How about defining your own. Even that is possible. you no longer have to go to the websites to do a search... just select the search engine from the drop down and type in your text, press enter... you are there. I can imagine that this is going to be a big hit for many. For all you IT consultants out there... how much easier will it be when companies like NewEgg, TechData, D&H develop a dropdown for the search. Will they do it... No question. Most of the ones listed above are already done and it is so easy for them to do it is a no brainer.
Security and Stability Well this post is getting long so I am going to cut the last few features short. Many, many changes were made to improve stability and security. VERY, VERY cool stuff Perhaps I will get into the stability and security later. Let me know if you want to know about it and I will give an outline. If you cannot wait, try going to the following URL for more info. http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie8/welcome/en/default.html.
You can download the beta here... Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 preview