MICROSOFT HAS been cooing about the forthcoming updates to its Edge browser that will arrive when the Windows 10 Creators Update is released in the coming months.
Some of the features had already leaked as parts of Insider builds, but here's a look at the official announcement as made in the Windows 10 blog.
Firstly, premiered earlier in the month is a new tab management system with pop-up thumbnails of open tabs in a single view, letting you not only decide what to keep open and what to close, but to group tabs belonging to a particular task you're working on, and close them together, to come back to later.
There's some new 3D features, just in time for the fact that everyone has given up on 3D, but with a nod to virtual reality (VR) with WebVR offering an insight into the way that it believes the world is going. See Hololens for details.
An improved e-book reader within Microsoft Edge will allow people to play with font sizes, layouts, themes and even offer Cortana integration, while shoppers will be treated to a Payment Request API designed to integrate with Microsoft Wallet, thus making it easier to pay in-browser with a universal wallet.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there's more work on Extensions, a much-needed addition that will make or break Edge. The Edge Extension Toolkit is allowing users to port their existing extensions to Edge but uptake has been slow. However, with the addition of new APIs such as Roaming Data and integration with other applications, the prospect is getting more appealing for developers, though we're a long way from the tipping point where porting is worth their time.
Netmarketshare figures show that Microsoft Edge is creeping up in use, it had a 5.48 (+0.15) per cent market share in January, while its predecessor, still on the vast majority of PCs, is falling like so many Wile E Coyotes of a cliff spur, down to 19.71 (-1.13) percent. Two years ago Internet Explorer had over half the market.
It's actually quite a healthy statistic given that Edge is exclusive to Windows 10. Other browsers can be used across all operating systems including Windows 10, giving them the (ho-ho) Edge.
Google's Chrome, by comparison, has gone up to 57.94 (+1.51). Microsoft Edge, as a ground-up browser is still in its infancy, but nevertheless is still craving a lot of the features that the average user now expects, and with the promised arrival of extension compatibility still seemingly slow on the uptake and no meaningful mobile platform to sync with, it is likely to remain languishing for some time, however much Microsoft adds nag prompts. µ
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