Announced in December, Microsoft's Chromium-powered Edge browser showed up in public previews in April. Since then, there have been a ton of improvements. Microsoft has added translation, spell check, and more. Today, it also announced IE mode, new privacy controls, and Collections.
Right now, Windows 10 ships with two browsers: Internet Explorer and Edge. If you open a page that needs IE, it simply launches it in IE. This presents a problem because many users don't return to Edge after that. They just continue to use Internet Explorer.
With IE mode in the new Edge, Internet Explorer will run in a tab, right within Edge. It seems like Internet Explorer will continue to ship with Windows 10 for the time being though, at least until Microsoft is sure that enterprises are satisfied with the change.
While Edge for macOS is meant to have feature parity with Windows, it will not include IE mode. The reason is that this likely isn't something that's needed. If you're on a Mac, you weren't missing Internet Explorer anyway.
The new privacy controls include three settings: unrestricted, balanced, and strict. It's all about deciding how you can be tracked by the web, and balanced is the default. Microsoft seems to be committed to user privacy, noting that while you can see the web, the web can see you too, even if you don't know it.
Rounding up today's announcements is Collections. This lets you collect content from various places online and put them into different groups. This is meant to be used for things like shopping, traveling, or any other kind of web research.
But that's not all. In a couple of sessions at its Build conference today, the firm talked about a bunch of things that are coming, and some that might not be.
Some of the features mentioned above have been talked about a lot, although some haven't. You'll notice that the PDF features currently in Edge are still on the way; those include inking and annotations.
However, other inking features might not show up. The ability to mark up webpages is a hard problem to solve. If you're just trying to get an image of a page, write on it, and save it, then you're probably better off using a screenshot tool. If you actually want an interactive webpage that you can write on, then that's something that would take more work on Microsoft's part.
Other things like tab preview and set aside tabs might not make the cut. It seems like these just aren't popular features, nor is the Favorites hub button.
One message that was put across loud and clear is that the Edge team is looking at feedback. Note that it's not committing to ending those features; it's only reevaluating them. If there's a lot of demand for their return, they'll probably return.
That's not all, because Fluent Design is coming to Edge. One thing that you're going to see is rounded corners, something that many have already discovered. On top of that, there will be shadows and elevation elements.
Microsoft is working hard on accessibility improvements, and a lot of that has to do with getting Chromium to work with system settings. High contrast is the most-used accessibility option, but Chromium doesn't know when you have that turned on. Soon, it will.
Learning Tools are coming, such as the Read Aloud feature. Microsoft also has new voices that can read webpages in a more natural voice.
As you can see, there's a lot to come, and the team has a lot of work to do. Previews for macOS, Windows 7, and Windows 8.x should be coming pretty soon. Most of the work is done, but the team just has some polishing up to do. After that, Edge should show up in a Beta channel, on top of the current Dev and Canary.