Microsoft promotes upcoming Edge enhancements

Microsoft promotes upcoming Edge enhancements

Among the features planned for the browser: tabs that can be stacked vertically along the browser's side and a Firefox-like Password Monitor

Credit: Dreamstime

Microsoft has talked up a slew of future features planned to land in Edge in coming months, including tabs stacked vertically along the browser's side and a Firefox-esque Password Monitor.

And although Microsoft has not come out and put it plainly, it appears it will mimic Google's Chrome as it resumes releasing Edge builds, including skipping a version to make up for lost time.

"It's time to expect more from our browsers - more control over our data and our family's online information, new ways to organise our online research and more value back as we browse," wrote Liat Ben-Zur, an Edge marketing executive, in a post to a company blog.

The bulk of the features touted by Ben-Zur were spun to a consumer, not commercial, angle, perhaps to sync with Microsoft's announcement of expanded and renamed Office subscriptions for consumers. Few of the listed features are available immediately, with many not yet having debuted in the browser's Insider preview program.

Vertical tabs, for example, are to reach Insider "in the next few months," when users will be able to open a sidebar where tabs are stacked. One big benefit: The sidebar gives each tab the space to show even long page titles, unlike top-of-the-browser tabs, which typically truncate titles to the point of uselessness when many are open at the same time.

At some point, Edge will boast an option that will stack tabs vertically in a sidebar. When? Microsoft didn't sayCredit: Microsoft
At some point, Edge will boast an option that will stack tabs vertically in a sidebar. When? Microsoft didn't say

Edge will also include a password monitor (again, this feature is to hit Insider in the "next few months") that warns users when their saved username-password combinations have previously been publicly leaked by a data hack.

Ben-Zur's description of the feature resembles what Mozilla ended up with as Firefox Monitor, the results of a partnership between the browser maker and the Have I Been Pwned? site and service. Ben-Zur did not reveal the source for the lists of leaked passwords which would fuel Edge's tool.

Other future Edge bits trumpeted by Ben-Zur range from a smart copy feature that retains a web page's varied content when pasted into documents to Collections, which lets users organise and store disparate clumps of information while doing research online.

Microsoft's Ben-Zur did not match features and intended Edge releases - the browser is currently suspended in version 80 - to portray the future as does, say, Google when it segregates enhancements by edition.

But Edge will, from all evidence, copy Chrome's next steps as it comes out of a release pause. Two weeks ago, Google suspended Chrome's every-six-to-eight-week release schedule, declining to issue Chrome 81 on time. Microsoft followed suit, not surprisingly since Edge, like Chrome, relies on the Chromium project for its foundations.

Last week, Google said that it would restart Chrome releases with Chrome 81 on April 7 but would skip the number 82 and pick up again with Chrome 83 on May 19. Google also resumed releasing less-polished builds, including one from the Dev channel, last week when it pushed that from v. 82 to v. 83 on March 26.

Microsoft did the same for Edge's Dev release - promoted it from v. 82 to v. 83 for the first time - a day later, on March 27. It's almost certain that Microsoft will release the next Edge, v. 81, shortly after Chrome 81's debut next week.

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