Project Spartan/ Microsoft Edge: Reinventing the Modern Browser
UPDATE: At Build, Microsoft announced the official name of it’s new browser to be Microsoft Edge, a reference to the new Edge rendering engine used in the browser.
Project Spartan, the codename for the browser set to replace Internet Explorer on all Windows devices, brings in a new age, similar to the revolution Chrome brought in the 2000s.
But this time it’s browsers like Chrome that this revolution is fighting against.
Let’s face it: Google is the Microsoft of the 2010s. They’re large, slow, demanding, and unwilling to innovate their products on platforms other than their own (and iOS products, oddly). This leaves the Google suite of services, including Chrome, on Windows in such bad shape that many are looking for an alternative to the supposedly fresh, new browser Chrome. I myself stopped using Chrome about a year ago and switched to Internet Explorer, which isn’t nearly as bad as it used to be.
And this is where Project Spartan steps in. Internet Explorer has still not fully recovered from the last 10 years it was rightfully seen by the world as the worst browser ever, so the folks at Microsoft figured it was time for a refresh, and this one will not disappoint.
Now Chrome has the ability to use Google Now, but only when you’re on Google’s site, and much of the functionality of the voice assistant is locked until you start using the Google search app on iOS/Android.
Well, Spartan sets a new standard for voice assistant integration. Supposedly Cortana will scan the webpage you’re looking at, and when she finds further insights on what you’re looking at, she’ll let you know by bouncing up and down. For example, say you were looking at a restaurant’s website. Cortana would recognize that, and when you click on her, she’ll pull up things like directions, the phone number, and reviews of the restaurant. Or maybe you’re looking at a movie on IMDb. Cortana would pull up show times and give you directions to the nearest theater. Cool stuff.
I’m still very curious as to why Cortana has two homes in the Windows 10 interface, though: one on the taskbar, and one in the browser itself. This approach gets me thinking that Microsoft might release Project Spartan as a cross-platform browser on iOS and Android, with limited Cortana functionality. Food for thought.
On top of Cortana, Project Spartan brings some abilities never before seen in any browser. Now you can mark up any webpage with ink, a very useful feature for touchscreen users.
The new Internet Explorer in Windows 8 brought a brand-new feature for transforming web articles into an easy-to-read text format. Project Spartan goes even further and offers you the ability to save this Reading View as a PDF in your “Reading List” to use while offline.
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