Wednesday, 25 March 2009 Grocery Accelerator for IE8 now live

If you have Microsoft's latest web browser, Internet Explorer 8, try out our new Grocery Accelerator.

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 grocery' in your list of accelerators. A small window will appear which, after a few seconds, will list up to five 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

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:  in preview mode, and  in full-page mode.

The page ie8.aspx is, of course, using the 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.


  1. Nick, See:

    I'm a big fan of Tesco. That's a cool accelerator you developed. For readers who use Firefox and IE8, I wanted your readers to be aware that Firefox has a version of Accelerators too, it is called “KALLOUT - Accelerators for Firefox” It’s available as a free add-on through Firefox. See:

    Selection-based search is really helpful. One GREAT feature of KallOut is BestGuess. The challenge with selection-based search is that the user has to figure out which one to apply to his selection. It’s a little clunky once you get more than two or three. KallOut does a super job figuring out which accelerator you need to use for a given selection-based search request. Kallout — Accelerators for Firefox is actually kind of spooky when it works so well.

    Check it out! I agree that it’s a big step forward for the user to have the selection-based search bundled into the browser. Your accelerator is a neat application of selection-based search.

    “KALLOUT - Accelerators for Firefox” is available through Mozilla at


  2. What would be a good email to get i touch with you? I run the food websites and which are both launching iPhone apps in the next month. You can get me at and I will shoot you back an email.

  3. A very nice demonstration of how simple this technology is (assuming you have a massive grocery API at your disposal) and a nice write up of the how to.


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