You might remember the Accelerator feature that Microsoft introduced in Internet Explorer 8. It provided Internet Explorer users with the means to quickly access web services from the active webpage. It can for instance be used to look up a location on a map, an item on a marketplace like eBay or a quick translation for a selected phrase. All these accelerators open in small windows displaying the requested information.
Today the Internet Explorer team announced the Accelerator Platform on Windows 7 which basically takes the concept and applies it to the operating system itself. This means that it would be possible to look up an address directly from within Microsoft Outlook or company information or people in Word, PowerPoint or Excel.
We thought the answer was yes, so we created the Accelerator Platform for Windows 7. Once you explicitly call into the platform from your application, you have access to all the Accelerators that IE does, without having to worry about the underlying XML implementation. This allows you to focus your energy on providing a seamless and powerful experience for your users.
One of the cool things about the Accelerator Platform is that we’ve essentially given you the same amount of power that IE has in interacting with Accelerators. Our APIs are flexible enough that you have a lot of latitude in customizing how your program interacts with the Platform.
The accelerator platform for Windows 7 could increase the demand for accelerators tremendously. It could become a very powerful option to integrate web services into Windows 7 applications.