To many people, Microsoft’s once dominant Internet Explorer seems a relic of the internet’s yesteryear – something that comes with your software but is never really used except by your grandparents and technophobes who’ve not kept up with all the developments in the world of browsers.
So aware that their competition such as Chrome and Firefox have long had the edge over Internet Explorer, Microsoft is officially retiring the software which will be replaced by Microsoft Edge as the default browser on all Windows 10 devices. If Microsoft Edge sounds new to you, that’s because many people have actually been calling it by the project name, Spartan, which seemed to be rather popular. The name Microsoft Edge was chosen to show that is cutting edge tech that gives users an experience that goes well beyond normal browsing.
The plan was to create a browser that is adapted to how people now use and search the internet. This means catering to web-based applications and making browsing faster and more collaborative, so it’s easiest to share and save information. So lets look at some of the new features and what they mean for home users and businesses like yours.
The first thing people will notice about Edge is the sleek design changes. It looks simple and cleaner than its predecessors. This is so that users can focus on the page they’re viewing and its content, rather than the browser itself. As part of this there is a new reading mode that takes away the flashing gifs, banners and borders of a page so you are left with the pure text. This means you enjoy a better reading experience and a much faster loading time so it’s great for reading online business reports or studying.
One of the reasons for Internet Explorer’s infamously slow speed in recent years is the fact it was supported by legacy technologies such as ActiveX, Browser Helper Objects and others. Edge has done away with all this and works a great deal faster with many tests showing it can easily outperform Chrome and Firefox when it comes to speed.
Web Note is one of the standout features of Microsoft Edge. It allows you to take notes, write doodle on and highlight webpages. These notes can later be saved or shared and easily uploaded into Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage. This means it is not only good for students making notes but also for collaboration in businesses between staff in the office or out in the field. The notes can be made simply by typing or using an interactive pen.
Although not available in the first release of Edge, it’s the browser’s use of extensions (snippets of code that add functionality) that most people are getting excited about. Extensions from Chrome and Firefox will be supported with more to come online later.
As Microsoft is hoping to put their Windows 10 software onto a billion or more devices within the next couple of years, security in Edge has been a top priority. So there is the ability to run the browser as a universal app, so that all processes and every page opened will be run in isolated “sandboxes” or “app containers” rather than built into the operating system. This stops the browser from being affected by vulnerabilities in the OS. New passport technology is aimed at tackling the problem of malicious website duplicates that steal people’s data. Called SmartScreen, this technology will perform reputation checks on browser visits and block phishing sites.
With Edge you get your own personal assistant, the point of which is to make the browsing experience more personalised. People are used to this feature on mobile platforms but Edge brings it to your desktop. Using voice or written commands, you can find extra information about things you are looking up online – definitions, contact information or related terms. Cortana also helps you locate files and documents on your hard drive. What’s more, Cortana will work across major app platforms including iOS and Android.
This useful feature has long been offered by Chrome and Firefox and stops cookies, passwords and your history from being stored when you are searching online. It is great if you need to use a computer that isn’t yours so you can check emails, pay bills and use your passwords – secure in the knowledge that this personal data won’t be there for people to find later.
Few people will be surprised by this move to shelve Internet Explorer and update and rebrand. The browser may have once been the top dog with over 95% of the usage share from 2002 to 2003 but since the launch of Firefox in 2004 and Google’s popular Chrome Browser in 2008 and Linux based operating systems, IE’s share has dropped as low as 13%. So it really was time for an upgrade, and so far Edge is getting some great feedback from users. Internet Explorer 11 will remain available alongside Edge on Windows 10 for compatibility purposes but Edge is hoping to get back a huge part of the market share for browsers.
If you are looking to upgrade to Windows 10 and the new Edge Browser as it becomes available, you should get in touch with the experts at Empower IT. We are Microsoft Gold Certified Partners and can let you know all the ins and outs of this exciting new release.