Microsoft Internet Explorer was Windows’ default browser, however, even then it didn’t do any good to its fate. There was always a saying that the best use of Internet Explorer was to download Google Chrome. No matter how sarcastic it may sound yet it was the harsh truth.
However, it seems that all these are now a thing of the past. Beginning with Windows 10, Microsoft introduced a new browser to the masses. Dubbed as Microsoft Edge, Microsoft seems to have rekindled the browser war. But what are the reasons for its change of fate? Well, there’s plenty of them that lead to its spike in usage. To begin with, the browser is based on the Chromium source code.
Based on the Chromium source code, it will let you enjoy all the goodies that the chrome browser has to offer. So the browser, apart from its own set of features, incorporates all the useful Chrome features as well. On top of that, Chromium is an open-source code project, meaning its entire underlying code is available for everyone to see and act upon.
Well, these are just some of the useful features why this is becoming everyone’s favorite, especially among Windows PC users. Let’s check out some of its other offerings of significant importance.
Switching over from one browser to another is an effort-taking task. All the files, data, bookmarks have to be re-added. You can’t simply sync these settings with your account ID and bring back all the settings. This is possible for the same browser across different platforms, but not across cross-browsers.
Until now. Microsoft Edge allows you to import data from three of the most used browsers i.e. Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. The first time you install and run, it will give you the import dialog box.
Just select your previous default browser and the type of data that needs to be imported. However, if you wish to skip this initially and try it at a later stage, then the feature could be accessed anytime from Settings > Profiles > Import Data.
Strengthening online privacy is the need of the hour. With cases of the data breach at an all-time, users are looking for methods to get a safe and secure browsing experience. The tracking prevention feature of Microsoft Edge will go a great length in this aspect.
Trackers, as the name suggests, track your online activities and collect information about your browsing behavior. What’s even worse, some trackers can collect and send your information even to the sites that you haven’t even visited.
The reason for all these tracking activities, as explained by various browsers, is that they wish to know your interests and your likings, and therefore will only send you personalized and curated contents.
While all these sound good on paper, there are some security risks involved. It is because of this reason, that people wish to block these trackers from keeping a check on their daily activities.
If you wish to do so as well, then Microsoft provides three different levels of tracking protection:
- Basic: It offers the minimum level of protection, only blocking some of the known harmful trackers, rest all the trackers will work across all the sites. This will give you more personalized and curated content but will take a toll on your privacy as well.
- Balanced: This is the one set by default and what Microsoft recommends as well. It maintains a decent level of tracking blocking and proper functioning of the websites. The thing is, if you block all the trackers, then some important scripts needed for the proper running of the websites also get blocked. As a result, websites won’t be able to function properly. This is why Microsoft suggests using this mode, it manages to maintain an equilibrium between both. In short, it blocks trackers from sites that you haven’t yet visited and other harmful trackers. However, you are likely to have a little less personalized content and ad, but I guess that will be a handy trade-off.
So these were the different levels of Microsoft Edge tracking protection offered by the browser. You could also create exceptions and add some sites to the whitelist. The option to do so is present just beneath the Strict mode.
Reading content on any website is becoming a challenging task as of late. With unnecessary contents creeping up for every corner, unsuitable ad placements, and the notifications covering up half of the screen, sometimes it’s better to let go of that article.
Well, this browser has it under control as well. Edge offers a Reading Mode that minimizes all the distractions and gives you an immersive reading experience.
There’s also a text reference box, that allows you to set the desired font text and style and even adjust the colors of the page. Or take it a step further and let the browser read out the content for you. For that, click on the three horizontal dots and select the Read Aloud option. You could also use the Ctrl+Shift+U shortcut key combinations to use it.
Everyone has this habit of keeping a lot of tabs open. While it’s great from the usability experience, sometimes it does lead to confusion or two. Fortunately, the browser had some impressive tab management tips lined up its sleeves.
For example, you could close all the other tabs, close tabs to the right, mute all tabs or even create duplicate tabs, which would save you from the effort of copying and pasting the URL in a new tab.
Or you could even create a favorite and all your tabs over there. This favorite collection could be on all your devices, giving you easy access to all such tabs.
The best part? All the options are present under a single roof just right-click on any of the opened tabs and you’ll get all the aforementioned options.
UI Tweaks and Appearance
If the bright lights protrude out of your PC causing unnecessary strain, you could easily make a switch to the dark side. While some of the other browsers allow dark mode via third-party extensions or experimental features (as in Chrome), Microsoft Edge has this feature baked into its browser.
Apart from this, other customization options include the ability to show or hide feedback, favorite, collections and Show buttons, different types of font sizes and styles, etc. To try out these changes, head over to Settings and click on the Appearance tab from the left-hand side menu bar.
Cross Sync Support
Microsoft Edge is available for Windows, iOS, and Android devices. Just log in with Microsoft account and all the data including favorites, passwords, bookmarks, history, etc will be accessible across all the devices.
Head over to the Settings tab and then click on Phone and Other Devices. There you could also find the QR code, simply scan it and the browser will be downloaded on your device. Login with the same ID that you have used on your PC and make full use of the sync functionality.
Built-in Virtual Assistance
This is one section where Edge beats the Chrome and Firefox browser. The integrated virtual assistance makes our work a lot easier and minimizes the manual typing efforts up to a great extent. Well, there shouldn’t be any brownie points on guessing which virtual assistance is the browser using (try spelling Cortana).
In its stand-alone sense, Cortana has some way to go before it matches up with Google Assistant, Siri, or even Alexa for that matter, however, its integration into the Edge browser is an interesting addition.
Apart from that, you might be aware that the Cortana search bar is integrated into the Windows Taskbar as well. So whatever query you type into the Cortana’s search bar, it will automatically take you to the Microsoft Edge browser to continue with your search results.
Another pretty useful addition to the browser is the Collection feature. You could create a collection of articles and websites, that will remain on the right-hand side of the menu. You could also add a note to the Collection. Apart from that, importing to Excel and Word is also possible. So if you wish to create a new collection, click on the plus icon next to the address bar.
You could also add the current page to this collection by just clicking on the Add Current Page option. There’s no limitation as to how many items you could add to the collection or how many collections you could create in the first place.
Bottom Line — Microsoft Edge Features
These are some of the pretty useful features that the browser has incorporated. Do note that there are three builds of the browser, apart from the Stable build: Beta, Dev, and Canary.
If you wish to try out new and cutting edge features, you should have a look at these builds, wherein Beta gets updates every 6 weeks, Dev is updated weekly whereas Canary is updated daily. However, Canary is the most unstable among the three, followed by Dev and then Beta.
On that note, the best part about Microsoft Edge is the fact that even after taking so much from Google Chrome, it still manages to throw in lag-free and stable performance. For example, Chrome is notorious for the fact that if you have opened around 10 or more tabs, then lag issues are bound to happen. Furthermore, we all know how much of a memory hogger Chrome is.
However, Microsoft Edge doesn’t suffer from these drawbacks. One major reason why people were reluctant to try out this browser is the lack of extension support. However, with time, we have seen near about all the extensions becoming compatible with it.
So it is due to all these reasons that we are seeing an unprecedented rise in the usage of this browser and we are likely to see more people jump ships over to this Chromium-based browser.
Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for your computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.
|Chrome Windows||Chrome Mac||Chrome iOS||Chrome Android||Firefox Linux|
|Firefox Windows||Safari Mac||Safari iOS||Edge Android||Chrome Linux|
|Edge Windows||Firefox Mac||Edge iOS||Samsung Internet||Edge Linux|
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