Microsoft released a test version of its latest web browser, Internet Explorer 8, on Wednesday.

The Redmond, Washington software giant says the latest version of Explorer offers increased interoperability, offers developers better predictability when designing sites, and full support for cascading style sheet (CSS) 2.1, which is a standard for web document presentation.

IE8 also includes tools which let developers reduce the number of errors found in the web pages.

New features include Activities and Webslices, which provide ways to interact with web content to save users time. The new features provide similar functionality to toolbars, but in a more light weight, easily manageable form.

Webslices allow users to subscribe to a specific portion of the web page and get updates directly from the browser, said Jane Kim, program manager for Activities and WebSlices in an interview on Mix Online.

Activities is a way to access services from anywhere on the web. For example, highlighting text of an address and right clicking provides a pop up window which allows you to connect to a map search web page.

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