New features provide peace of mind, help you stay in the flow and connect to the information you want
The last few weeks have been unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. As a working mom I’m certainly used to having a full schedule, getting pulled in different directions, balancing the needs of my family with those of my job, and generally feeling stretched. But these last several weeks have taken my everyday reality to a whole new level. And I suspect I’m not alone. I’ve found myself at home jumping from Teams call to Teams call while trying to keep things moving forward at work (recognizing I’m lucky in this regard) while also now homeschooling my kids. It feels like the volume of everything has been turned up significantly. There’s more email, more information and news, more screaming (as I write this, my kids are fighting right outside my room), more video chats, more anxiety and frankly, I’ve found it hard to make sense of it all.
One of the things I’ve noticed is that the browser – a thing I might not think too much about if it weren’t for the work I do every day – is an even more indispensable tool than ever before. Whether it’s reading the latest COVID-19 news, using Teams online for meetings, collaborating on Word documents with my team online, researching lesson plans for my kids, or shopping for toilet paper – I’m turning to the browser all day long. It’s a tool we all rely on and have for years.
My browser habits have not changed, but the world has, and at an incredible rate. These days we worry about what information online can be trusted. We worry about the safety of our personal data, our identity and the safety of our children online. At Microsoft, we are starting to question the browser status quo. Perhaps it’s time to expect more from the web.
Last year, we started our re-imagining of the web by rebuilding our Microsoft Edge browser from the ground up based on the Chromium engine. This ensured we could deliver world class speed, performance and website compatibility with the sites and extensions you use every day. But we believe that’s not enough. It’s time to expect more from our browsers – more control over our data and our family’s online information, new ways to organize our online research and more value back as we browse.
Today, we announce a set of new consumer services from Microsoft including new consumer features in Microsoft Edge that help you stay organized and save time, protect your online data and identity, and give you value back. If you haven’t tried the new Microsoft Edge yet, now is a great time to check it out.
Here are a few of my favorite new features in the new Microsoft Edge.
1. Organize your research with Collections
If you’re having to suddenly design your child’s academic curriculum, or maybe spending more time at home has you rediscovering your inner chef, Collections can be a big help. Collections allows you to easily collect information from different websites, organize it, export it into various files or just come back to your research at a later time and pick up right where you left off. Today it can be difficult to do this – especially across a large number of different websites and multiple devices.
Just click on the Collections button and a pane on the right of your browser opens, where you can easily drag and drop webpages, text, or images into a group – without having to open another page or application. You can then send your collection to Word or Excel. I use Collections to help me create lesson plans for my kids. I search the web for all kinds of cool ideas, then drag them over to the Collections pane on the right, and when I’m done, with one press it exports the collection to a beautiful Word doc that I can print out for the kids. You can also share your collection by copying and pasting into Outlook or another email service.
Today we announced that Collections will also be coming to mobile later this spring making it easy to create, access and sync your Collections across all your devices. Collections for desktop is in the Insider channels now and will be coming to the Stable channel soon.
2. Work efficiently with vertical tabs
If you are like me when you research online, you find yourself with dozens of tabs open at any given time. When that happens, there’s less space for me to see which tab is which. I find myself losing track or I’ll accidentally close a tab as a result. Utterly frustrating as that is usually exactly the one page I needed.
Today we announced vertical tabs, a feature that helps you easily find and manage many open tabs at once. Microsoft Edge is the only browser that allows you to manage your tabs on the side with a single click. Vertical tabs is expected in the Insider channels in the next few months.
3. Save time with smart copy
My favorite technology features are always the ones that seem the simplest and where I find myself asking, “how did I live without this before?” How often do you cut and paste content from the web into documents only to see the beautiful web content reformatted into an ugly mess of text that you then need to clean up? Smart copy makes it easier to select, copy and paste the exact content you want from the web and preserve the rich web format. You can use your cursor to select any area or type of content. When you paste it will retain the formatting, including any images or links. It’s something that sounds so simple, but believe me, it’s a life-changer. Smart copy is expected in the Insider channels next month.
4. Take back control with tracking prevention
I’ll be honest, I love to shop. So yes, I sometimes do find personalized ads helpful. I’ve found various new products online this way that I may not have otherwise. But for many others and particularly for my kids, personalized ads that follow you around the web can sometimes feel intrusive, if not even creepy. The tracking prevention feature in Microsoft Edge is designed to protect you from being tracked by websites that you aren’t accessing directly, giving you more control over what you see and what you don’t. Whether on mobile or desktop, you can select one of three settings that’s right for you – Basic, Balanced or Strict. Depending on which setting you choose, Microsoft Edge will adjust the types of third-party trackers blocked. When I browse, I like to use Balanced mode which is the default setting. But I set my kids’ browsers to Strict mode. Tracking prevention makes understanding who’s tracking you online easier to see and easy to manage, and it’s available now.