The Microsoft Edge

4354719-7527510961-41164Microsoft seems to be using a lot of Halo game elements in Windows desktop and mobile phones. For e.g. after the end of Internet Explorer the new Internet Browser was codenamed “Spartan”. Then there is Cortana which is the name for the intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator, much like Siri for IOS, but for Windows Phone 8.1 and now Windows 10. Cortana is also the name of an Artificial Intelligence character in Halo games.

e1.0It was finally revealed this week that the official name for Project Spartan is Microsoft Edge. It seems like the “edge” is getting prevalent with underdogs trying to get an edge over their competitors. Samsung’s new smartphone code named “Project Zero” has an ‘edge’ in it’s name and it also literally has an edge… or two in this case. Microsoft’s “Edge” on the other hand is the absence of edge in the browsing experience.

Microsoft desperately and amazing enough, confidently wants to rebrand its Internet Browser as can be seen from this Microsoft Edge Promotional Video.

The browser has always been a window into the world. We all looked out and saw amazing things. It’s time to open that window and blur the edge between consumption and creation between the universal and the personal, between standing still and moving forward. Introducing  the browser that defines the edge of today and turns browsing into doing. ..

If someone told me last year or even a week ago that I would be getting excited about Microsofts’ Internet Browser, I would have kick them in appropriate places. But quite honestly, Edge and Windows 10 and everything that Microsoft is doing has really got me excited, something that I have not said in many years. The logo itself seems to be re-born from the ghost of the Internet Explorer past but with a cooler edgier look.

Microsoft Edge will be the default browser on Windows 10. It will be heavily integrated with Cortana. As you can see in the screenshot below, it shows you the top sites visited, featured apps from the Windows store, weather details, and sports updates and other news article links that are of importance to the user all on the default home page .

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 18.33.30

It picks all of this information up from Cortana which is heavily integrated with Windows 10 on the desktop and phone (Dedicated post on Windows 10 coming soon.) From the keynote, it seems that Cortana will truly act as  AI Personal Assistant and give suggestions by learning your desktop and phone and browsing habits and help you search what you are looking for by taking voice commands.

Microsoft Edge will also allow developers to create extension for Edge much like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. According to the keynote developers will be able to import extensions from Chrome and Firefox that use standard HTML and javascript “with just a few minor modifications”.

Now that is all the good promises that Microsoft is giving. What about the actual user and developer experience? One thing that I have learnt is that if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually quite positively excited about this new direction that Microsoft is taking, however from experience and this is not just my experience this is the experience of every web developer that has ever utterly painfully laid their fingers on coding specifically for Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s Internet Browser provides nothing but a reason to hate the very core of it’s browser  – each and every iteration of Internet browser.

I can only hope that this time it is going to be different and I have a feeling that this time it will be different – different for the better.

Only time will tell whether this is good news for web developers or not and if developers are happy so will the end user be happy.

That is my take on Microsoft’s new Internet browser, Edge. Of course I have not had a first hand experience with Edge, but when I do, I will be posting my thoughts on it. I will soon be writing on the key elements of Windows 10 and a in-depth review of the Samsung galaxy S6 Edge.

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