IE8 Beta 2 Launched

The IE team launched IE8 Beta 2 which can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/ie8.

You can watch videos of IE8 at http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-us&user=-3161786097973413883 and http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/beta/videos.aspx. IE8 is a very developer friendly browser. You can download add-ons for IE8 at http://www.ieaddons.com/. Some of my favorite add ons include Web Slices and Accelerators.

Some cool features of IE8 Beta 2 include color-coded tabbed-browsing and accelerator support. Accelerators are services that you access directly from the webpage in the context of what you’re doing, letting you bookmark, define, email, map and more with a simple selection. Even your search providers are available as Accelerators. Some Accelerators provide previews so that you can view the result without having to leave the current webpage. Clicking on an Accelerator opens a new tab with the full result. You can download accelerators from http://www.ieaddons.com/en/accelerators/

Also, there is better support for when website you are viewing in a tab crashes - now instead of closing the whole IE window along with other tabs open in the same window, only the tab with the crashing website will close!

Microsoft adds new features to .NET

Microsoft has introduced new features in .NET with their Service Pack 1 (SP1) release of .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008.

Most of the stuff included in the service pack releases is new features and functionality rather than bug fixes and updates to existing feature-set. For example, .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 adds a new concept called the .NET Framework Client Profile, which enables an application to be delivered with just what is needed to install and run the app, rather than the whole framework. This can reduce the size of installation files by 86.5 percent, according a Microsoft spokesperson. Other major features in .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 include a 20 to 45 percent improvement in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) applications and changes to the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) to change the way data and services are accessed.

The changes in the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 are listed here.

New social media offering

Digitage Web 2.0Image by ocean.flynn via Flickr

We just announced a new offering with our social-media partner Pluck and their product code-named AdLife. AdLife will inject social media features like customer comments and user-generated content into digital advertisements such as banner ads or micro sites - in effect, turning mainstream ads into social media opportunities distributed across the digital world.

From a technology community perspective we have worked with Pluck on several clients to bring social media features to client’s websites. Plucks services are available through software as a service which enables us to drive faster solutions for our clients. The are some key elements such as dealing with a AJAX/Flash/Silverlight integration and still enabling SEO. Unfortunately, search engines are not able to deal well with rich internet applications yet, but we have some ideas on how to deal with this.

That being said, I think there’s a couple of critical element to why we have to make our sites social.

  1. We are social beings, our sites should follow. Communities will help us make our sites better, by adding the right metadata through comments or confirming where we get it right or telling us where we get it wrong - wikipedia anyone:).

  2. Without bringing social technologies to our client’s sites, the sites we build won’t be found. Organic search engines depend on social to surface pages. Remember google bombing? That was enabled through blogging and trackbackids, a key aspect of social. If your site/page isn’t enabled socially, it won’t rank in google, live, and yahoo.

  3. Outside of organic search people read things on the web, so they can send them to their social graph. Again, we mush make it easy for people to connect with their social graph, so people can passively or actively tell their community about the content.

At Avenue A | Razorfish, we’re one of the largest buyers of online media in the world and we’re partnering with Pluck, a social media technology vendor serving 2.5 billion impressions a month to bring this to life. For more information read the press release or read David Deal’s blog.

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How cool is this new search engine - cuil.com ?

By now almost everyone who keeps an eye on search market is aware of the launch of new search engine - cuil.com. And to my amazement most of us have already given a verdict on this new offering as to if this is a real Google killer or just another dying hope for those Google haters. Cuil has also got a lot of attention from Google lovers - this launch was a real attention grabbing hoax.

So what makes cuil.com center of attention?

  • Cuil.com is developed by couple of engineers who have a hand in developing Goggle’s search engine. This particular fact has given them a lot of credibility. 

  • Secondly, this search engine indexes many more pages than Google does. I did not know that Google does not index the entire world’s web pages – may be cuil indexes pages from other planet’s ecosystem too but any how this fact makes cuil.com an attractive offering. More pages means more results .

  • Finally, last but not least and I think most important is that cuil.com does not remember your search queries – a big win for those privacy advocates who are trying to get Google for a long time now.

So what is your verdict of this cool or not so cool offering? I will share my first experience and for those who believe in “first impression is the last impression” I did not have a good experience. My first hit to cuil.com on the day it launched resulted in a service not available page (too many hopefuls flocking on to cuil.com). Since then service has been bought-up and I have given it few more tries but I could not make up my mind.

As of today Google is still the kind of search for me and I bow to thee. What you guys think?