Before the release of Internet Explorer 8, browsers could be enhanced through “fat” browser extensions to be downloaded and installed (i.e: eBay Browser Highlighter or StyleFeeder Personal Shopper): quite painful process to sometimes only test a new service… Then, we saw the rise of bookmarklets, small scripts added in the bookmark section of the browser (i.e: used by social shopping destination to easily save products): convenient, easy to upgrade for site owners, easy to install for users but interaction with the bookmark list is not really convenient…
With Internet Explorer 8, Microsoft introduces a new kind of browser extensions called accelerators:
How many steps does it take with your current browser to map an address, translate a word, or perform other routine tasks online? Until now it was likely a series of cutting and pasting information from one webpage to another. Now there’s a better way. The new Accelerators in Internet Explorer 8 help you quickly perform your everyday browsing tasks without navigating to other websites to get things done. Simply highlight text from any webpage, and then click on the blue Accelerator icon that appears above your selection to obtain driving directions, translate and define words, email content to others, search with ease, and more. For example, with the “Map with Live Maps” Accelerator in Internet Explorer 8, you can get an in-place view of a map displayed directly on the page.
Accelerators are a clever way to extend the browser: simple to add (one-click process without need to restart the browser, through the IE8 gallery), no real-estate problem (the to-many-toolbars problem) through usage of the right click button on your mouse, easy to upgrade for site owners. And for those reluctant to use IE8, there is even an implementation of IE8 accelerators for Firefox.
Some shopping destinations (shopping engines and retailers) have already started implementing accelerator like Ciao and Windows Live Shopping (both belonging to Microsoft).
Accelerator for Ciao FR:
Accelerator for Live Search US: