If you've been holding off on switching to Microsoft's new Edge browser, you may finally take the plunge thanks to changes that are due when Windows 10 Creators Update rolls out in April 2017.
The Windows 10 Creators Update promises a host of new features aimed at creatives types and gamers, such as new 3D capabilities, a Game Mode, and enhanced Windows Holographic support for low-cost VR headsets. The update is expected to arrive in April 2017 and should offer Windows 10 users some nice new functionality.
Microsoft’s Edge browser team hasn’t been standing still either, and the company’s newest browser product is also slated for some nice updates. Microsoft posted a summary of all of the new Edge features coming with Creators Update, many of which are already available to Windows Insiders.
According to Microsoft research, nearly 50 percent of the typical Windows user’s time is spent surfing the web, with a significant amount of that time spent doing nothing but organizing and sorting through search results, sites, and other content. With that in mind, Microsoft is working to improve Edge’s organizational features to make it easier for Windows 10 users to keep their browsing organized.
Tab management is the primary area that Microsoft is attacking with the Windows 10 Creators Update. Users will be able to quickly access a thumbnail view of all of their open tabs, and retain a set of tabs quickly while getting rid of the rest for a cleaner browsing experience. Those tabs can be picked up later, leaving users free to perform other tasks, then return to a specific group of tabs when convenient.
This feature joins the new tab preview bar that will make it easier to see what tabs are currently open. Clicking on a chevron opens a scrollable thumbnail view that can be controlled with touch, the mouse wheel, or touchpad. Edge will also receive new Jump List functionality to make launching new windows from the Taskbar icon easier via a simple right-click.
Microsoft also introduced a new ebook catalog in the Windows Store that uses Edge as the viewer for both purchased e-books and EPUB-formatted books without DRM. Windows 10 will support ebook features like customizable fonts and layouts along with Cortana integration, all of which will be coming to the Windows Store and Edge with Creators Update.
Next up are a number of other new initiatives, including WebVR support to enable 3D browsing. Online shopping in Edge is also being enhanced, with Payment Request API implementation and support for Microsoft Wallet on Windows 10 PCs. The Edge extension platform will continue to be expanded, with additional APIs to let developers do more things like access favorites and manage roaming data.
Clearly, Microsoft is serious about making Edge a more competitive browser and an important element of Windows 10. The company has a difficult road ahead if it wants to catch up to Google’s dominant Chrome browser, and it’s taking some important steps toward that objective in Creators Update.