Microsoft has been lagging way behind the competition for many years in the internet browser space. The company publicly acknowledged this fact when they launched the “Internet Explorer is actually good now #SignsOfTheApocalypse” ad campaign.
To be fair, IE 9, 10 and 11 represented a major leap forward for Internet Explorer, even if they were a little bloated with unnecessary features. However, it was too little too late for the browser that, “You Loved to Hate,” Too many millennials had indeed, “Told their parents they had to stop using Internet Explorer.”
The link below will take you to a commercial from this add campaign: it really is both accurate and hilarious.
But Microsoft has in no way given up on having a successful internet browser. Windows 10 includes Microsoft Edge, a piece of software that critics are describing as a, “Truly modern browser.” Gone are IE’s unnecessary taskbars and menus; all that clutter has been replaced by a clean, streamlined application that renders websites with blazing speed while delivering new features that truly add to the browsing experience. Features like:
Web notes allows you to manipulate web content in ways that have never before been possible. There is a pen tool, a highlighter, a tool for adding a dialogue box that can be used to add notes and a tool for quickly selecting a region of the webpage to copy (or screenshot) and paste.
Once you are done with your web note, you can either save it as a file or share it through a variety of applications. There are a ton of possible applications for this feature – doing research for a group project? Mark up the website where you are performing research and send it to the individuals in your group in a matter of seconds. Are you and your siblings pitching in to buy Mom a Christmas present? Circle the item you think is the perfect fit, make a note that explains why you feel that way, highlight the price and send it directly from your browser to see if your brother and sister agree.
Another feature of Microsoft Edge that we found to be both fun and useful was its integration with Cortana. There are basically three ways to access data provided be Microsoft’s digital assistant within the Edge browser. In certain instances, Cortana will provide information relevant to your search as you type it into the search bar. Certain keywords will trigger this function, like “weather”, “define”, or “convert” for information regarding weather conditions, dictionary definitions or conversions for units of measurement or currencies.
Cortana Assist provides bits of information that you are likely to find particularly useful from websites that you visit. If a search triggers this function, you will see the circular Cortana icon off to the right of your query. Clicking on it will display the information that Cortana thinks you are probably most interested in. If you go to the Panera website, for example, clicking on the Cortana icon will provide you with a list of restaurant locations in order of their proximity to you, hours for those locations, and a link for directions to each of them.
Finally, you can highlight any text within the browser, right click on it and then select the “ask Cortana” option. This is a great way to find a quick summary of a topic without having to navigate away from the page you are currently viewing.
If you like to browse the web at night or find yourself reading in darker environments from time to time, you will love the new dark mode theme. With just a couple of clicks, you can switch between dark and light mode so that the browser is easier on your eyes no matter what environment you are using it in.
Turning this feature on is as simple as clicking on the menu icon in the top right hand corner of the screen, followed by settings and then finally clicking on dark underneath the option for “theme.”
Anytime you venture out onto the Internet you run the risk of your computer or personal information being compromised. Microsoft Edge was designed with your security in mind and it includes a number of state of the art features that help to keep you and your computer safe. One of the primary ways that security has improved with Edge in comparison to Internet Explorer is that the application operates in a sandbox. This means that content you access on the internet is quarantined from the rest of your operating system. If you access malicious code as you are browsing on the internet, that code is rendered useless because it is restricted from accessing any other application or process on your computer. Another feature that makes browsing safer in Edge is called SmartScreen, which performs reputation checks on websites to prevent you from downloading malware or falling victim to phishing scams. SmartScreen verifies security certificates of websites, ensuring that they are what they claim to be. This means that every time you are prompted to download a software update, Edge checks to make sure that the website you are downloading it from is a reputable one.
There are plenty of other features that make Microsoft Edge a great browser, like a new reading mode that removes advertisements and pictures to provide a distraction free reading experience, the ability to migrate your bookmarks and favorite websites from Google Chrome and a sharing panel that allows you to share content instantly using a variety of different methods – not to mention the fact that it loads websites remarkably quickly. But rather than describe everything that is great about this new software ad nauseam, we recommend taking it out for a test drive so that you can experience it for yourself.