Then, whenever you read a web page anywhere on the web that mentions food and drink, click the blue 'accelerator' icon that appears next to the word(s) you highlight on the page. When the accelerators menu appears, hover your mouse over 'Hover to search Tesco.com grocery' in your list of accelerators. A small window will appear which, after a few seconds, will list up to five Tesco.com products matching the highlighted text.
If you click the 'Hover..' message (rather than just hover over it), a new page opens with some extended search results.
The accelerator is actually an XML document which has commands to tell IE8 what do. You can see the XML itself (in any browser that renders XML) if you navigate straight to http://tesco.cloudapp.net/addTescoIE8Accelerator.xml
The accelerator XML points to page ie8.aspx (running at our space in the Microsoft Azure 'cloud') whose behaviour depends on parameters supplied in the page request, namely 'searchfor=' and 'preview=n'.
So, searching for highlighted text 'chocolate' becomes:
http://tesco.cloudapp.net/ie8.aspx?searchfor=chocolate in preview mode, and
http://tesco.cloudapp.net/ie8.aspx?searchfor=chocolate&preview=n in full-page mode.
The page ie8.aspx is, of course, using the Tesco.com grocery API to perform the search. The page does not have the actual credentials of the customer, so it calls the API with an account pointing to our Brent Cross store in north London, which has an average-sized product range.
Soon I intend to both improve performance and also update the service so that the customer can login to the service quickly, search their own store, and add the search results straight to their shopping basket - ideal if, for example, they are on a recipe site and want to obtain the ingredients.