Internet Explorer 8.0 beta 1 has recently been released to the public and two of the most hyped features of the new version are Activities and WebSlices. Activities is like a web-service to which you can direct some selected text so that it can perform an action and return the result such as checking a word definition from Microsoft Encarata or finding a map of a place using Yahoo Maps etc. Webslices in Internet Explorer 8.0 allows to subscribe to a part of a webpage you are currently viewing in the web-browser much like RSS feeds and as such this feature may turn out to be very useful.
I think activities feature has existed in Firefox in more or less similar way via use of extensions. Operator is one of the extensions that lets you to combine pieces of information on different websites in meaningful ways using Microformats and there are some other extensions as well. Webslices feature seems to be a more original concept that do not have any equivalent in Firefox according to what I have seen so far.
Now we don’t need to rely on the Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0 for just to use these features because we can get these two features in our beloved Firefox courtesy of two new Firefox extensions! Microsoft Activities is brought to us by the author of the Operator Firefox extension. To use Microsoft Activities you first need to subscribe to few Providers from Microsoft. WebSlice’s equivalent in Firefox is called WebChunks. WebChunks is an early implementation of WebSlices that detects webslices in a webpage and allows to subscribe to them via a toolbar. Again to use WebSlices you first need to subscribe to few Providers from Microsoft. There are few providers for now for these services but I hope that Microsoft will provide more with the time.
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