I upgraded from Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) to Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) today to test out a new feature the browser has – Web Slices. Microsoft has, according to the company, brought on board 12 Indian sites to offer either live snippets of their content, or add applications or “accelerators”, much like Opera and Firefox have been doing. The 12 Indian sites offering content or they’ve tied up with: Bharatmatrimony, EconomicTimes, Games2Win, In.com, Indiatimes, MSNIndia, Naukri.com, Rediff, Sify, TimesOfIndia, Webdunia and Zapak. We tried out some of the slices and applications that have been launched:

Web Slices & Accelerators

Web slices are like active bookmarks – you click on the web slice, and it opens up a menu with recent updates or headlines — fairly similar to an RSS feed update. Some samples:

ws-rediff ws-incom ws-games2win

ws-et ws-zapak

When you visit a website using IE8, a web slice add-on button can be shown for a particular content section on a mouseover; for example, in case of Rediff. Rediff also has a search based accelerator, as does Naukri. Naukri’s accelerator apparently isn’t live yet –still in labs. Ditto for Bharatmatrimony-their accelerator is available here. BM does have the most unique implementation is the one from Bharatmatrimony: they’ve integrated a search box into their Web Slice. In case of Webdunia, it appears they’re providing a friend update feature using an Accelerator, for their social networking site Dosti. This is the first time we’ve come across Dosti.

Our Take

IE dominates the browser market, but the high end users gravitate towards customization and applications – Firefox and Opera’s addons and applications appeal to the power users. While the reach that these applications will allow supercedes that of Opera and Firefox, the common users will be hard pressed to install and some of these features.

[poll id=”9″]

We also didn’t like the fact that IE8 is a 32 MB download (too large, too slow for most Indian connections); the download site doesn’t automatically detect the version of XP that we’re using; One also has to reboot after installation – so much for plug and play. Also, IE8 messes up the way MediaNama is rendered – although it does have a compatibility view button to fix that.