At its Build conference earlier in May, Microsoft announced a bunch of features that will be coming to its Edge browser. These features included Pinterest integration for Collections and a new sidebar search that lets users search for context about any text on the webpage right within the tab. As with all new features, sidebar search was set to first make it to Insiders running the Canary, Dev, and Beta flavors of the browser.
That happens today, as the company has released Edge Canary version 85.0.555.0 to Insiders that brings the feature to users for testing (spotted by Techdows). As the name suggests, sidebar search lets users select text on a web page and perform a Bing search for that content right from within the tab. A panel on the right serves search results with links and cards just like on a dedicated Bing search page. Users can then open related links from the panel or choose to expand the panel separately in a new tab by clicking the ‘Open in new tab’ button at the bottom.
The ability to search for content within a tab has been borrowed from legacy Edge. That browser provided a way to ‘Ask Cortana’, which then served Bing search results in a panel on the right. The ability to search for quick references without navigating through tabs, such as for definitions, is a nifty feature, especially for students. Currently, the feature is only limited to text and cannot perform image searches.
Those running Edge Canary can head to the ellipsis menu (…), click Help and feedback > About Microsoft Edge to check for updates. Considering that the feature is minor, it could be made available to other test channels, and eventually, the stable version, sooner rather than later. These updates should also be available for Edge users on Windows 7 and 8.1, as the Redmond giant has begun pushing the browser to those versions of Windows as well.