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Microsoft Names Next Web Browser 'Edge'

Microsoft announced today at its Build event that its next Web browser associated with Windows 10 will be called "Edge."

Previously, Microsoft had called it "Project Spartan," which was a code name. At Build, the new name was disclosed by Joe Belfiore, Microsoft corporate vice president for PC, tablet and phone. The name is derived from "being on the edge of consuming and creating," according to Belfiore. However, it also likely comes from the name of its search engine, called "EdgeHTML," which is a fork of Microsoft's proprietary Trident engine in Internet Explorer.

Microsoft plans to deliver both IE 11 and the new Edge browser when it releases Windows 10 sometime this summer, but IE 11 will be sticking around mostly to help tide over organizations needing to support older IE technologies. With the Edge browser, Microsoft removed a lot of "legacy" Trident coding.

Belfiore referred to a "blazing fast core technology" in the Edge browser that will make it easier for end users to engage with the apps that developers create. He added that more details would be explained tomorrow. The Edge browser is an example of Microsoft's Universal Windows app approach, according to Belfiore. That means it's designed to run across different device form factors, but Belfiore also alluded to its ability to help users discover content and apps. The Edge browser has Cortana built into it and a new tab page. The tab page will show a user's favorites according to what Cortana has gleaned.

Edge also has a new "Web extensions" capability that's similar to the capabilities found in Chrome and Firefox browsers, according to Belfiore, referring to programs written to work within those browsers. The Web extensions capability supports apps written in HTML and JavaScript. Belfiore said that it only took "a few minor modifications" to get extensions written for Chrome to run in the Microsoft Edge browser. Belfiore added that the Reddit Enhancements Suite and Pinterest are examples of two extensions that have been modified to run in the new Edge browser.

Microsoft's Windows 10 announcement today referred to "future extensibility with JavaScript and HTML," so it's not clear when the capability will be rolling out. Not all of the Windows 10 features demonstrated at Build will be available when Microsoft releases the new OS this summer. Microsoft considers its Windows 10 release cycles to be more like service updates, with frequent feature updates.

Other Edge features include a note-taking capability, a reading pane for reading Web site content and a sharing capability.

Microsoft is also talking more about the new browser at its Build and Ignite events. Microsoft will talk about managing both the IE 11 and Edge browsers in Windows 10 at its Ignite event. An Ignite live stream will happen on May 4 at 9:00 a.m. CDT, according to this IE blog post.

Microsoft has a whole event planned to talk about its Edge browser. The Microsoft Edge Web Summit event will take place in Mountain View, Calif. on May 5 to May 6. There will be a live stream happening at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time on May 5 at this Microsoft Channel 9 page.

Veteran Microsoft reporter Mary Jo Foley claimed today that the Edge browser will be the only browser available on Windows 10 for mobile devices. For devices running Windows 10 on desktops and laptops or larger devices, the IE and Edge browsers will be available, she indicated. However, so far, it doesn't appear that Microsoft has announced such details.

The Edge browser also reportedly has a new "e" type of logo, according to various press accounts.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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