Auto Suggest, new in IE 8 with Search Providers (and coming to Live.com?)

IE 8 Beta 2 just came out today, and one of the interesting new features comes in the search bar, in the form of Auto Suggest.  We’ve seen these types of suggestions to searches before, most commonly included in toolbars such as the Windows Live Toolbar, but this new feature, built in to IE 8 Beta 2, not only is built in and makes for a seamless experience, but has some great cross Search provider features as well.  To start, type something into the search bar at the top right of Internet Explorer:

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A list of suggestions drops down, including most popular suggestions and also a list of suggestions stemming from your browsing history.  But to get the full effects of the feature, add in some other Search Providers:

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and then run a comparison between search providers, or narrow your search to Wikipedia (or eBay, or Amazon, etc).  This way you can leave your default at Live Search but check results in other browsers, for example.  A really nice little feature, now built in to IE 8 Beta 2.  You can learn more about Search Providers on the IE website

And it looks like this same functionality may soon be coming to Live.com.  Currently in limited testing (and leave us a comment if you’ve seen it), Live.com may soon feature the same drop down auto-suggest functionality, depending on the feedback they receive from their limited flights of this new feature:

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I’ve always liked these auto suggest features, but never liked having to install a toolbar to get them, so I’m looking forward to trying it out in IE 8, and looking for it on Live.com.

One additional note on IE 8 (thanks for the tip, Chuck!), this from the XP download release notes:

Windows Live Mail

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 and Windows Live Mail are currently incompatible. If you install Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2, Windows Live Mail will crash when you create or reply to an e-mail message. No workaround is currently available.

Not good news for XP/Live Mail/IE users.  The note is not included in the Vista version of the release notes.