The UK government has backed Microsoft's IE8, with the Directgov website announcing that it has built an 'accelerator' application for the web browser.

Microsoft introduced accelerators in the recently released IE8, allowing users to right-click any text and then search within an accelerator site.

This could mean, for instance, looking for a postcode by right-clicking and selecting Live or Google Maps, or searching eBay for a specific type of product.

Why not other browsers

The capacity to build a third-party application for the other browsers, such as Mozilla's Firefox, the second most popular on the market, has been around for a long time, but Directgov is trialling its service on Internet Explorer first.

Jayne Nickalls, Directgov Chief Executive, said: "To feature a web accelerator for Internet Explorer 8 is a first for Directgov. The new tool will make it even easier for citizens to find and use Directgov's free services.

"Directgov receives more than 14 million visits per month and we anticipate an increase in visitors following this partnership with Microsoft.

"We would be pleased to talk to other organisations about similar initiatives." Nickalls added.

Early indications are that it was Microsoft that approached Directgov over the initiative, but TechRadar has contacted Directgov to ascertain why third-party applications have not been built for other browsers.

UPDATE

Directgov has confirmed to TechRadar that Microsoft approached the government service with the offer to develop an application, and reiterated that it would be happy for other browser makers to do something similar