Las Vegas (NV) – Microsoft will be releasing the first beta of its next-generation browser as well as a beta of the second version of the Flash competitor Silverlight for download today.
Following a recent announcement that the upcoming Internet Explorer 8 will be interpreting web content “in the most standards compliant way it can”, Microsoft today said that a first beta version of the browser will be made available to developers today.
IE8 beta 1 promises to deliver substantially more performance that the current IE7, according to Microsoft, and catch up with Mozilla’s Firefox and Apple’s Safari. However, according to Microsoft’s own numbers IE8 will still be somewhat behind its rivals in terms of load performance.
Among the new features of IE8 will be an “activity list” as well as “web slices”. Activities will allow users to mark certain portions of the content on a website and dynamically retrieve related information from Live.com, including maps, contact data and prices of products. “Slices” enable users to mark certain portions of a website, bookmark them and make them dynamically available through a preview button in the browser bar.
Also available for download today will be Silverlight 2.0 beta 1. New features include adaptive streaming capability, which will pick the highest quality streaming available based on available bandwidth and the horsepower of the client CPU. Adaptive streaming will not only be able to pick the best bitrate of multimedia content up front, but also switch the bitrate during the playback of content.
Microsoft said that Silverlight 2.0 will offer new rich advertising opportunities for publishers as well. Microsoft apparently was able to already rally support for this feature as even Google subsidiary DoubleClick announced support for it.