Here's a snippet of the 1.8 beta release announcement. The complete announcement is here
We are excited to announce that our 1.8 Beta release is now available for download, as well as testing on our demo site. We rely on our dedicated users (that’s you) to install and test the beta in order to make sure we have a quality final release.
This release features finding and merging duplicate contacts (de-duping), event price sets, employer fields in profiles, improved admin control panel, RSS feeds for events, the ability to define multiple payment processors, and more; the CiviCRM 1.8 Roadmap describes all of the new features, while the resolved issues list sports the implementation details and lists fixed bugs.
Stay tuned for updates and instructions on CiviReport functionality. We are working on getting the sample reports cleaned up and compatible with the latest BIRT release.
Many of the additions and changes in 1.8 were heavily driven by your feedback and requests, and we hope they solve many more of your CRM requirements.
You can download CiviCRM 1.8 Beta at our download page. The filenames include the 1.8 Beta label: civicrm-1.8.beta…. Be sure and select the correct version for your CMS (Drupal or Joomla) and for the version of PHP running on your server (PHP 4 or PHP 5).