When the hype of the Microsoft Windows 10 release settles down, we’re left to wonder what that new blue E icon is. It isn’t our old friend Internet Explorer and it isn’t anything we’ve seen before. With Windows 10 we are introduced to Microsoft Edge – the latest way to experience the internet, or at least that is Microsoft's intention.
I’ve taken Microsoft Edge for a test drive. It has some cool features, many annoyances, and has yet to become my default browser. I’m not ready to give up, however. Here’s what I’ve found.
What's Great About Microsoft Edge:
Microsoft touts Edge’s incredibly fast browsing experience. Web pages that aren’t full of legacy code, etc. do render much quicker, and there’s data to support these claims. Ok, I’ll buy it. There’s some nifty features with Microsoft Edge.
It’s tightly integrated with Cortana – Microsoft’s virtual assistant. Speech recognition and features that have transferred from smartphones to desktops! You can set reminders, search contacts, ask for specific information, and even ask for help identifying a song. I’m impressed.
The coolest feature in my opinion is the Reading View (CTRL+Shift+R) – a little icon in the upper right that looks like an open book. This handy feature strips down any article you want to read, removes all the distractions, and gives you a straight-forward article to read. You can create favorites and reading lists to save and read later. Man, that’s pretty cool! To add one last thing, there’s also a “Make a web note” icon. Like a website, and article, or want to comment on your search results? Use this feature to make notes, highlights, write entire paragraphs and then share them with colleagues to start your own collaborative discussion. I can see where this can be quite useful!
The Top Annoyances...
Emailing with Outlook is not an option yet.
I was ready to convert; I was ready to wave the Microsoft Edge flag. I had written my dissertation after clicking on the Reading View, editing the article with my comments using Web Notes, and then I clicked SHARE. There are currently 2 options for sharing – built-in Live Mail email client and One Note. I wanted to email with Outlook. It isn’t an option…yet. So, I’m not ready to jump on the Edge bandwagon after all.
Changing the default browser is complicated.
Time to change my default browser – which results in a pop-up from Microsoft begging me to reconsider my decision. (note: this pop-up is a newer change and didn’t exist until recently.) While I’m at it, I’m going to change my default search engine. Both of these tasks were relatively painless, but Cortana only accepts a different browser choice; BING is the search engine of choice for my voice activated companion. Now I can’t find the Internet Explorer icon. By default, that’s on purpose to. Ugh! Good thing I wanted to use Chrome anyway.
Based on my experience, I’m really not surprised that Microsoft Edge has been slow to catch on. Apparently, I’m not the only one with this opinion. Chrome is currently the top browser for all Windows 10 users – a whopping 70%! Edge users peaked at 16%, and are now hovering between 3% and 12%. At least there’s an option while within Edge to open a page with Internet Explorer, which you still need to do from time to time to ensure compatibility.
Microsoft Edge has potential, and it will be interesting to see how future iterations of this browser are revealed. Should we compare EDGE to ZUNE, or get excited about where Microsoft is taking this new browser? I think it is too soon to tell.