Have you ever been browsing the web and suddenly realized that you need to quickly check the weather, the traffic, or stock price for some company? With Internet Explorer 8 you can get all of that information, and much more, without ever having to navigate to another site or leave the page you are on. We call it a Web Slice. With Live Search and Internet Explorer 8, you can have quick access to this kind of information and more.
So what are Web Slices exactly? Web Slices bring the user’s favorite data directly into the Internet Explorer 8’s Favorites Bar, making it instantly available wherever the user goes on the Web. The screenshot below shows a Web Slice for tracking the weather for Seattle:
Instead of having to repeatedly visit websites to check for updated information, Web Slices allow people using Internet Explorer 8 to keep track of information from within a webpage right from the Favorites Bar. When a website has a Web Slice, users will be notified a Web Slice exists within that page in several ways:
A green Web Slice icon will appear in the Internet Explorer Toolbar (where the RSS feed icon usually is) notifying you that the webpage you are on has a Web Slice. As you move your mouse through the webpage, when you mouse over an area of the webpage that has the Web Slice, the Web Slice icon will also appear. This is because as I mentioned above, Web Slices are snippets of information within a webpage.
Today, Live Search provides several really neat Web Slices (that ties in with search results) that allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest information on local weather, traffic, top headlines, and stocks as you browse the web.
Live Search Weather Web Slice: When searching weather for a specific city or town in Live Search, the results provided show the current weather for that city or town and the forecast for the next 4 days. These results are also offered as a Web Slice which can be added to your Favorites Bar in Internet Explorer 8.
For example, if I search “weather Seattle” in Live Search, I get the current weather and 4-day forecast for Seattle. I can add to this Web Slice to my Favorites Bar and stay on top of the weather for Seattle. The Web Slice will regularly update with the latest weather information.
A screenshot for the Live Search Weather Web Slice can be seen above.
TIP: You can right click on a Web Slice on the Favorites Bar in Internet Explorer 8 to “refresh” a specific Web Slice or all Web Slices to get up-to-date information.
Live Search Traffic Web Slice: This one is my personal favorite. In Live Search if you search on traffic for a specific city (like Seattle), you are given the latest traffic for that city in your results. These traffic results are also a Web Slice which can be added to your Favorites Bar. If you live in your browser – this could be a great way to stay up on traffic (and when it might be a good time to leave work!).
Please note that this Web Slice (and traffic results in Live Search) is only available for select cities that offer traffic data. If you search for traffic for your city or town and the search results don’t offer up any traffic then it is likely Live Search does not have traffic data for your city.
TIP: You can grab a specific Web Slice on your Favorites Bar and drag it left or right and change the order Web Slices and Favorites are displayed on your Favorites Bar.
Live Search Top Stories Web Slice: Stay on top of the top stores from Live Search! When you go to Live Search News, you can add the Top Story Web Slice to your Favorites Bar. It also works with specific search topics (like Windows 7) under Live Search News too.
Live Search Finance Web Slice: Just like with weather, you can search for stock results on a specific company on Live Search. The financial results for that company can be added to your Favorites Bar as a Web Slice.
TIP: You can grab the corner of the expanded Web Slice and make it bigger.
I hope you find these Web Slices useful! There are many other Web Slices available that do a variety of things – such as the eBay Web Slice that lets you track eBay auctions. In the next couple weeks I’ll be talking more about Web Slices and the Favorites Bar.
Last week we made available Internet Explorer 8 RC1 for folks to download. If you haven’t already, download it from http://www.microsoft.com/ie8.
To get even more Web Slices for Internet Explorer 8, head on over http://www.ieaddons.com!