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Microsoft accidentally unveils tab previews for Edge

Much in line with the strategy being employed with Windows 10, Microsoft is building its Edge browser bit by bit, and allowing users to test out each stage to ensure that it meets expectations. At a recent keynote presentation in New Zealand, that ongoing form of development led to a new feature being showcased a little sooner than planned.

Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore was demonstrating Edge at a Microsoft Ignite event when he unintentionally lingered over a tab and caused a thumbnail preview to appear on the screen, according to a report from WinBeta. This functionality has been alluded to previously, but Belfiore’s reaction suggests that it wasn’t meant to be demonstrated on the day.

“You might have noticed there’s one other thing in the Edge browser that I mistakenly revealed as I was doing this,” Belfiore said after making the slip. He went on to suggest that tab previews will be made available as part of an upcoming Insider build to users enrolled in the program.

Microsoft is playing catch-up with browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox in many respects, most notably support for extensions — and, of course, in terms of their userbase. However, tab previews seems to be one feature that Edge could offer before its competitors.

Chrome and Firefox need a third-party extension to offer such functionality, so an official Microsoft solution would allow Edge to put its nose ahead of the pack. It’s crucial that Microsoft’s browser has its own strengths, as well as the efforts being made to put it on an even keel with other popular browsers.

There were many reasons that Internet Explorer came to be discontinued in favour of Edge, but the fact that it seemed like an outdated offering compared to modern browsers was a major factor. Microsoft has made no bones about its desire to distance Edge from its predecessor, but it is functionality like this that will determine its success.

Earlier this month, the company announced plans for WebM support in the browser, something that a great many users had requested. There’s a lot of work to be done before Edge can be regarded as a true alternative to the more established browsers out there, but it certainly seems like Microsoft is doing everything in its power to get that done.