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.
An important note about extensions in Edge is that the feature won't ship with Windows 10 RTM (release to manufacturing) this summer, but will come in a later update.
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.
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.
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. Very useful for magazine like sites—like PCMag.com!
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 app
New Coding Support
A Build session on the Edge browser highlighted just how many forward-looking features Edge supports, and noted that the browser doesn't appear as IE to sites, so they're more likely to work as they do in Firefox, Chrome, and Safari (mobile and desktop). The browser will support Object RTC, a newer form of WebRTC, the protocol that allows sites access to media communications; think Skype via a Web browser
An Edge Among Browsers!
Microsoft's new browser shows promise, and seems to be moving in all the right directions—faster speed, more standard support, extensions, and even a couple of unique features like page markup and Cortana integration. The fact that it will deliver the same experience on every device size—from Raspberry Pi to HoloLens to Xbox One—is another advantage. To try it out (on a non-critical PC), you can join the Windows Insider program and install Windows 10.
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