Coming Of “Edge:” Microsoft’s New Browser

Up until now, Internet Explorer’s successor has been secretly referred to as Project Spartan during Microsoft’s development stage. At the Microsoft Build 2015 Developer Conference, the project name was finally announced as the company’s newest browser: Edge.

The name was already familiar to those in the know because Project Spartan’s page-rendering engine was known as Edge, but now the name has been elevated to describe the product as a whole.

For those who have had difficulties with Internet Explorer, this new browser is long overdue, but Edge should turn their frowns into smiles because it is much faster and more compatible with modern web standards.

Edge joins its competitors, like Firefox and Chrome, in the use of extensions and actually uses the same JavaScript and HTML standard code.

This means that Microsoft’s new browser can easily adopt its competitor’s extensions. In fact, Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s VP of Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, demoed a couple of extensions at the conference. However, you won’t see the extensions feature in Windows 10 until later this year.

Cortana, Windows 10’s Siri-like virtual voice assistant, makes an appearance in Edge as well. When needed, Cortana shows up in a blue circle in the browser’s toolbar to relay pertinent information related to the landing page, such as directions to a local business or contact information.

Edge users can also summon Cortana for assistance and extra info by right-clicking on text selections to find out more.

Another Edge feature is the new-tab page, a remnant from Internet Explorer with a few tweaks. When Edge users open a new tab, the page displays thumbnail icons for the most frequently visited sites. It also allows users to reopen closed tabs and makes many suggestions for apps and videos and facilitates access to weather or latest sports scores.

Edge also provides the option to view pages in a reading mode free of distractions such as images and advertisements. Users can even make annotations, such as highlights and notes, on webpages for sharing or storing as an image. Microsoft’s new browser also comes with coding support and will function the same across all platforms. Until Edge is formally released, users can test it on non-critical PCs by downloading Windows 10 and joining the Windows Insider Program.