Microsoft is retiring the old, much loved-to-be-hated Internet Explorer in favor of the new Microsoft Edge. It will be the default browser for Windows 10, from phones to desktop, and from first impressions, it doesn’t look half bad. It’s as if Microsoft actually tried to create a better product this time. Competition is wonderful, kids.
Edge will make it to the market with Windows 10, but you can try it right now if you’re signed up for Window’s Insider Program. Beware though, this is a Technical Preview. That’s a couple of steps before a public beta. Don’t install it as your main OS.
But it makes sense. While the iconic Internet Explorer logo means crap to most of us tech geeks, it’s the symbol for internet for millions of tech inept Windows users around the world. And when they finally upgrade to Windows 10 (which, as it’s free, of course they will), they’ll see that vaguely familiar e icon and they’ll know what to do.
It’s not 1997 and MS has to compete with Chrome now. Edge uses a proprietary layout engine called EdgeHTML. And it seems to be following the modern web protocols. More than IE ever did. We’ll know more about this when the final build comes out.
3. It Will Work from Phones to Desktops
Edge will scale up from 4 inch cheap Windows 10 phones to tablets to 27 inch desktops. We’re not sure how all the features would work, but we’re surely excited to find out.
4. Cortana Integration
This might be one of the best things about Edge. Cortana on the Windows Phone was the highlight of my Lumia 630 review unit. Having her integrated inside the browser is going to be extremely helpful. And from the demos, it looks like the integration is going to go far deeper than anything Google Now has attempted with Chrome.
Cortana will be always there when you search for something. She will tell you important things, like the temperature in Manhattan, without you having to launch any website.
5. Annotation and Reading Mode
There’s no shortage of annotation tools and read-later extensions on Chrome. But again, Edge’s advantage is going to be the integrated approach. You find a web page, you annotate it, take some notes and share it with your friends. They’ll also be using Edge and they can comment on the page right there.
Edge also has a reading mode where it strips the text from all formatting. You can also save pages to be read later.
6. The New Tab is Going to Be Like the Start Page
Edge’s new tab page is going to be rich with information and arranged in the same kind of tiles like the new Start menu and the old Start page.
Customizable widgets will bring you news, sports updates, weather, and more.
7. There Will Be Extensions
I can hear the productivity-oriented people asking this question already. MS knows that extensions are the cool new thing and MS is actually going out of their way to make it easier for developers to port existing Chrome and Firefox extensions to Edge. This means, hopefully, when Windows 10 launches, the big players like Evernote, Pocket, Wunderlist, and more will be there on day one.
What Do You Think of Edge?
From the looks of it, Edge might be a good browser for a lot of people who are not going to install 68 extensions to do special stuff. The built-in functionality will enhance the experience for millions across the world.
What do you think of it? Will you give it a try? Even if it’s to laugh about it at your next geek meetup? Share with us in the comments below.