It’s official, Microsoft has killed off Internet Explorer, its new browser will be Microsoft Edge.

The browser, formally known as Project Spartan after the protagonist of Microsoft’s Halo game series, is completely new according to the company. It announced the new name as part of its Windows 10 presentation at its Build developers conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft wants to rebrand around a faster, leaner and more advanced new browser platform. It will be the default browser for all Windows 10 devices, including computers, tablets and smartphones, and will feature integration with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant similar to Google’s Now and Apple’s Siri.

 

Testing of preview builds of Windows 10 released by Microsoft have shown Edge to be considerably faster and leaner than Internet Explorer, more akin to Google’s Chrome or Apple’s Safari.

 

SO, WHAT ARE THE FEATURES ?

Edge Browser Extensions →

Extensions are hardly a new capability in Web browsers, and even Internet Explorer had some extensibility, with toolbars, WebSlices, and Accelerators. But Edge brings the promise of full Firefox- and Chrome-style extensions.

 

extensions in microsoft edge

 

Cortana →

Windows 10’s voice assistant seems to be popping up everywhere, and Edge is no exception in this regard. When you land on a page for which directions make sense—say you’re on a restaurant’s webpage—Cortana pops up with her familiar blue circle in the browser toolbar proposing relevant information. You can also right-click on selected text to have Cortana find info about the selection.

 

cortana in microsoft edge

New-Tab Page →

People hit that bar atop the browser to open a new tab over a billion times a day, and Microsoft wants to make good use of that real estate. IE’s new-tab page was actually one of the more useful among the browsers, all of which let you search and see thumbnails of your most-visited sites, but also let you re-open closed tabs and see site suggestions. In Edge, the new-tab page still shows top sites, but also app suggestions, weather, sports scores, and video suggestions. Interestingly, the page doesn’t show an address bar, but you can type a URL into its search box.

 

new tab feature in microsoft edge

 

Reading Mode →

Another feature that’s been available in other browsers for years (particularly in Apple’s Safari) but is making its debut in Microsoft’s new browser is Reading Mode. This lets you strip out all the extra junk on a webpage aside from the main text and images —ads, sidebars, and so on—so you can read undistracted.

 

reading mode feature in microsoft edge

 

Page Annotations →
This one has not appeared on competing browsers from Mozilla, Google, and Apple, though I’ve seen a similar feature in the lesser-known Maxthon browser. Edge lets you mark up webpages with a highlighter or drawing tool and then share them as an image file in email or social apps.

 

page mark up in microsoft edge

 

Whether anyone will actually notice the change, given the barely changed logo has yet to be seen. For many the big blue “e” is the internet. Edge will be no different.

 

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