Microsoft today announced upcoming features for its Edge browser based on Google’s Chromium open source project, the same browser Google’s Chrome is based on. Consumer features like Vertical Tabs, Smart Copy, and Password Monitor are coming soon. Microsoft also shared a few updates for existing or already announced features like Collections, InPrivate mode, and Immersive Reader.
After over a year of testing, Microsoft launched Chromium Edge for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, and macOS in January 2020. That launch was largely targeted at businesses — the company promised to ship more consumer features “later this year.” Microsoft isn’t ready to ship those features yet, but it is starting to unveil them. Additionally, Microsoft still plans to roll out the new browser as a Windows update (in addition to the standalone download). Today, the company told Windows users it will “come to your PC starting next month.”
One more thing: Google paused Chrome releases earlier this month due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, the company resumed updates, said it would skip Chrome 82, and rescheduled Chrome 81 and Chrome 83. For Edge, Microsoft followed suit to be “consistent with the Chromium Project.” Still, with more people spending time in their browsers at home, Microsoft is eager to talk about upcoming Edge features.
Vertical Tabs, Smart Copy, and Password Monitor
Vertical Tabs is meant to help you “find and manage many open tabs at once.” You will be able to organize your tabs on the side with a single click. Microsoft hopes this will be useful when you’re researching a topic online and open dozens of tabs.
Smart Copy is supposed to help you copy and paste content from the web into documents. Specifically, Smart Copy retains formatting, including any images or links.
Password Monitor will notify you if the credentials you’ve saved to autofill have been compromised as part of a hack. If Edge matches any of your saved usernames and passwords, a notification will prompt you to take action. A dashboard in Settings will list your leaked credentials and direct you to change your password on the implicated website. Browsers like Firefox and Chrome offer similar tools.
All three features are on their way to Edge’s Insider channels: Vertical Tabs and Password Monitor “in the next few months” and Smart Copy “next month.” Microsoft didn’t provide a date for when to expect them in Edge stable.
Collections, InPrivate, and Immersive Reader
Microsoft also talked about other Edge features today. Collections (first announced in May 2019) uses “cloud-powered intelligence” to collect, organize, share, and export content you find while browsing. Collections for desktop is still baking in the Insider channels and is coming to the Stable channel “soon.” Collections for mobile is set to arrive “later this spring.”
InPrivate mode automatically deletes your history, cookies, and site data when you finish a web browsing session. InPrivate search with Bing, which doesn’t tie your searches to you, is in the Insider channels now and coming to the Stable channel “soon.”
Immersive Reader removes distractions on the screen to help you focus on the page’s content. Line focus, which highlights individual lines as you scroll, is “coming soon.”
Edge wasn’t the only Microsoft app to show off incoming consumer features. Microsoft today also unveiled Microsoft 365 for consumers, which includes everything in Office 365 plus new AI and cloud-powered features.