Almost in stark contrast to its pace with the first Microsoft Edge, now called “Microsoft Edge Legacy”, development on the Chromium-based successor seems to be faster, more frequent, and perhaps also more exciting. Building upon an existing and proven browser engine has given the company more opportunities to improve not only performance but also the user experience and the latest Edge features demonstrate how Microsoft is differentiating its browser from Google Chrome and its cousins.
Browser tabs are wonderful and have enabled users to become more productive. They have also become a rabbit hole that some have failed to climb out of. Browser makers have taken different approaches to curb the resource costs of dozens of tabs or make it easier to search for the tabs you want. Microsoft is doing those but is now also embracing a somewhat divisive feature on top.
A vertical list of open tabs is nothing new but, with few exceptions, most of these are available only as third-party plugins. Not only is Microsoft Edge making it a built-in feature, it is also improving the implementation in subtle ways that users have requested. For example, toggling between vertical and horizontal tabs is as easy as a single mouse click and vertical tabs can be collapsed down to their website favicons to save space.
The latest Microsoft Edge also makes its cookie tracking protection simpler and clearer. In addition to offering three levels of Tracking prevention, the feature’s description also makes it clearer what those actually do. Instead of a brief but ominous “might not function properly”, Edge now explains more precisely what features may stop working without those cookies.
Microsoft Edge is admittedly shaping up to be quite a formidable competitor to Google Chrome, despite the irony of being based on the same open source technology. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s aggressive push sometimes overdoes it and instead leaves users with a bad taste in their mouth from the company’s shenanigans.