5 Cool Things You Can Do with Microsoft's New Edge Browser

There's been a lot of hype surrounding the release of Microsoft's new browser, Edge, which is poised to supplant Internet Explorer as the official Microsoft browser. Aside from being a completely new browser, Edge features a brand new layout engine that renders pages much faster than its predecessor, making it a viable contender against popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, and Safari.
Karim Lahlou
Updated October 12, 2021

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding the release of Microsoft’s new browser, Edge, which is poised to supplant Internet Explorer as the official Microsoft browser. Aside from being a completely new browser, Edge features a brand new layout engine that renders pages much faster than its predecessor, making it a viable contender against popular browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla FireFox, and Safari.

One of the big differentiators between Microsoft Edge and competing browsers is the level of integration that it offers with not only the Windows ecosystem, but also with other broswers. Currently Edge supports browser extensions from both Chrome and Firefox, giving web surfers a compromise-free broswer and saving developers time from having to recode their extensions.

You’ll also find many similarities between Edge and Google Chrome. Taking a page out of Google Chrome’s playbook, Edge has a very clean and straightforward design, removing much of the toolbar-clutter you would find on older iterations of Internet Explorer.

Of course, to succeed, Edge needs to do more than just look like Google Chrome, it also needs to offer features that you won’t get with Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, at least out of the box.

Here are some cool things you can do with the Edge browser.

Search results in the address bar

A big selling point of Edge will be its efficiency and speed, a benchmark that several reviewers have considered to be “on par with Google Chrome.” One feature that Microsoft will be trying to integrate as much as possible are search results within the confines of the address bar, removing the user’s need to open a new tab or load a new winddow for a small tidbit of information like the weather.

By incorporating as much information as possible onto a single page, Edge attemps to curb multiple tabs, helping you better organize your information and conduct research more efficiently.

Native extensions for popular apps

In addition to allowing users to install both Firefox and Google Chrome add-ons, Edge comes with several out-of-the-box extensions that provide a deeper integration with a few popular apps.

For one, click-to-call Skype functionality will be integrated right off the bat, letting users make phone calls through their browser without the tedium of copy pasting numbers onto Skype. You’ll also get extensions for Reddit and Pinterest, and it’s likely we’ll see more extensions roll in once Windows 10 launches during the end of July.

(Note: Edge's mobile version does not have browser extensions as those are still just slowly making their way to phones and tablets. Apple has rolled out iOS Safari extensions for iPhone and iPad now, and a few browsers on Android allow extensions as well.)

Cortana

If you don’t know much about Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Google Now and Apple’s Siri, we urge you to read this quick primer on it.

Microsoft is trying to be as holistic as it can with Windows 10, which means integrating the user experience on multiple platforms and devices—this also includes Cortana.

One key functionality of Cortana in Edge will be the inclusion of voice support, allowing users to quickly to search for information without needing to type the information. Cortana will also bring up ancilliary information related to your query, giving you all the pertinent information in an “at-a-glance” format.

You’ll also be able to use Cortana to highlight words and topics to know more about them, which will open an in-window box with search results so that your user experience won’t be disrupted by having to open another tab.

Reading Mode

One highly desireable feature of Edge will be the inclusion of Reading Mode, which instantly strips any given webpage of superfluous content (read: ads) to provide a clean format that is ideal for reading. Similar to Pocket (formerly Read It Later), Edge will also incorporate the “Reading List” program, which will sync all your “saved” articles across all your devices.

The reading mode will be most welcome on mobile devices like tablets and smartphones where every bit of screen real estate matters. The reading list functionality will also help create a unified user experience between different devices, which is the overarching strategy of Windows 10.

Annotating Webpages

Last but not least is the Edge browser’s ability to directly annotate webpages and share them as notes with friends and co-workers. This gives the users the ability to highlight certain text, underline something funny, or give feedback on a particular topic.

The annotation tool is also great for research, especially when used in conjunction with Cortana. While you’ll have the possibility to save your annotations locally on your machine, you’ll also be able to store your annotations to the cloud, allowing them to travel with you no matter what device you may be using.

Certain photos courtesy of PCMag and PC World