Overview of Internet Explorer 8 (part 1) - Defining IE8 Accelerators

6/26/2011 11:34:44 AM
Windows Internet Explorer 8, or IE8, is the latest web browser developed and released by Microsoft Corporation in the popular Internet Explorer series. IE8 was release in March 2009 and available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 with at least SP2 in both the 32-bit and 64-bit operating systems.

IE8 is available for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 in both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions and is the browser shipped with Windows 7 (both 32-bit and 64-bit). Windows Internet Explorer 8 is the successor to Windows Internet Explorer 7, released in 2006.

With the explosion of Internet use—even for the inexperienced end user browsing the Internet for personal reasons as well as for those who use it for work-related tasks— enhancing the user interface (UI) while providing better levels of security (which include privacy) has been the focus in the development of IE8.

Windows Internet Explorer 8 is loaded with new user features to provide end users with a better and simpler way to get the information they desire from their browsing experience.

1. Using New User Features of IE8

The new features added to Windows Internet Explorer 8 are designed to give end users an easy way to browse the Internet for the information they're looking for while providing a secure environment for networks by recognizing potentially bad sites (those attempting to sneak viruses or Trojan horses into the network), phishing sites (those that attempt to steal private information about the user), or invasive sites that users may go to either on purpose or inadvertently.

2. Defining IE8 Accelerators

Windows Internet Explorer 8 includes a new feature that allows you to gain access to Internet services with a click. By highlighting a word within a web page and clicking the Accelerator icon, you have access to a range of various services by default and can add more Accelerators if you desire. In Figure 1, you can see the word cryptographic highlighted and the Accelerator icon selected. Clicking the Accelerator icon will bring up a list of currently available services.

Figure 1. The Accelerator icon

The default set of Accelerator services are shown in Figure 2 and are available to launch a web page to provide information about the selected text. In this example, I'm going to search Bing for the term cryptographic by choosing Search With Bing.

Figure 2. The Search With Bing Accelerator

Figure 2 shows the set of Accelerator services installed by default in IE8, but there are several more currently available and more to be available as time goes on. You add more Accelerators from the same menu by choosing All Accelerators and Find More Accelerators (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Adding more Accelerators

Adding Accelerators to IE8 will certainly provide a more feature-rich and efficient browsing experience. Most of the time while browsing, a second browser or new tab is opened to do further research about the page you're currently viewing. Lots of times this is just for a quick look at a new piece of information or to look something up. If you're used to going to a certain page to find the "extra" information, this would be a great candidate to add to your Accelerators.

In Exercise 1, you'll add an Accelerator to IE8 from a currently open web page.

Exercise 1: Adding an Accelerator to IE8

  1. Open Windows Internet Explorers and open a web page.

  2. Select a word or phrase and choose the Accelerator icon.

  3. Choose All Accelerators and then Find More Accelerators.

  4. Review the available Accelerators and select the Define With Bing Accelerator:

  5. A confirmation box appears asking if you're sure you want to add this Accelerator and if you want to make it the default for this Accelerator category. Select the check box to make it the default and choose Add.

  6. You can verify the installation of the Define With Bing Accelerator by returning to the web page (or going to any web page), highlighting a word or phrase, and choosing the Accelerator icon. The Define With Bing option will now be available.

You can also add Accelerators directly from the IE8 menus, which is also where you can manage any of the Accelerators you have installed (and that includes deleting them).

2.1. Managing IE8 Accelerators

To manage the installed Accelerators or add new Accelerators directly from the IE8 program interface, perform the following steps:

  1. Open Windows Internet Explorer 8.

  2. Choose the Tools then Manage Add-ons menu choice

  3. From the Manage Add-ons window, select Accelerators from the Add-on Types section

  4. Select the Accelerator in the right pane that you would like to manage or Select the Find More Accelerators menu choice in the bottom left of the Manage Add-Ons window to add more Accelerators to IE8.

2.2. Using Accelerators in IE8

Let's take a look at some of the different capabilities of the Accelerators in Windows Internet Explorer 8. In the previous section, we installed the Define With Bing Accelerator. We discussed the addition of the Define With Bing Accelerator as being a quick launch of Bing with a define search functionality implemented in a new tab of IE8.

This is true; however, the Accelerator provides an even more useful function by giving you a "preview" of the search without opening a new tab. If you select a word in a web page you are viewing and would like a definition of the word, you can open the Accelerators menu by clicking the icon and simply pausing the mouse pointer over the Define With Bing option. IE8 will use Bing and display a quick definition in the current window, as shown in Figure 4, with cryptographic highlighted and the mouse pointer paused over Define With Bing.

Figure 4. A quick definition from an Accelerator

If you think this is cool, hold on; it gets even better. The default Map With Bing Accelerator works like Define With Bing. It will open a new tab in IE8 with a highlighted location address entered and searched with Bing, The Map With Bing Accelerator also has the preview capability and will show you an insert in your current page if you hover the pointer over the address. If you check out Figure 5, you can see that I searched on the latitude and longitude of a lighthouse in Maine.

Figure 5. Quick map from an Accelerator

The list of Accelerators providing internet services is extensive at this time, with Accelerators available for most of your favorite providers. I've used examples from Bing here, but if you prefer other search engines and mapping providers, they already have Accelerators available.

Facebook, eBay, Hotmail, Google, Linkedin, Trip Advisor, Currency Converter, Wal-Mart, TechNet, MSDN, UPS Tracking, and USPS Tracking are just a short list of Accelerators available. As you get used to using the Accelerators, the functionality they provide will make the browsing experience so much faster you'll wonder what you did without it. There are other more new services available in 1E8, like Web Slices.

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