Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 start page.
Microsoft throws out some fresh beta software for everyone to try.

DailyTech reported last month that Microsoft was on the verge of releasing test versions of the Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) web browser. Microsoft made good on that promise today with the public release of IE8 Beta 1 at the MIX Conference in Las Vegas.

The beta browser is available for a wide range of Windows operating systems including Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003 SP2. According to Microsoft, IE8 Beta 1 will not install on "prerelease versions of Windows Vista SP1" or "checked versions of Windows".

IE8 includes a number of new features including the "Activities" contextual data management service, a new Favorites Bar, an improved Phishing Filter, Automatic Crash Recovery and “Webslices”.

Microsoft software architect Alexander Strauss goes on to explain Webslices, stating, “Webslices are simply portions of arbitrary websites to which a user can subscribe to. This enables a user to have updates of sites he regularly visits right at his fingertips without navigating to the respective sites. A webslice behaves just like an RSS Feed. The slice itself will be added to the Favorites bar of IE8 when a user subscribes to a webslice. In order to subscribe to a slice it must be discovered. The discovery is quite easy as IE8 will display a special symbol if a page offers a Webslice.”

IE8 will face some stiff competition from Mozilla later this year. Mozilla's Firefox 3.0 web browser is currently in the Beta 3 phase and has received generally favorable reviews around the web.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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