Build 2015: Microsoft Edge will redefine the browser experience

Microsoft reveals the name of its next-gen browser.

Microsoft is holding a conference this week called Build 2015, which is intended to educate and inform developers.

During an early keynote, the tech giant revealed the name of its new browser. It’s going to be called Microsoft Edge. For anyone who loved the logo for IE (all five of you), the name ties in nicely and means there won’t be a ton of rebranding.

“[The name means] the edge of consuming and creating, being closer to the modern capabilities of the Web. This is for note-taking, reading, and consuming content. Developers will care about the blazing fast speed and that it is a universal app,” said Joe Belfiore, a vice president for PCs, tablets, and phones during his talk.

Tabs are heavily used today when people use the Web. When you use Microsoft Edge to start a new tab, the page will show useful information like the weather and news updates. Each new tab is an opportunity to glance at information that updated behind the scenes.

Microsoft plans to make extensions for Edge, including one they showed for Reddit that lets you see images you can then pin to Pinterest. (Not sure why they used this example other than the fact that’s it’s easy to understand and visual.) Of course, this is in addition to all of the cool voice-enabled features they've mentioned already.

The idea of starting over with a new browser, adding new extensions, learning a new interface, and updating the browser 14 million times over the course of a few months doesn’t sound too appealing, but the demos made Edge out to be a snappy, sleek, slim, highly usable, and functional browser that could give Google Chrome something to think about. It also means, when you buy a new PC, you can browse right away in style.

In other news, Microsoft also took great pains to explain how Windows will run universal apps that can be ported easily onto other platforms. Edge will essentially run the same no matter which app you use. Every Windows universal app will save you time.

That's a good thing, because one of the most frustrating realities about using technology today is that everything is incredibly siloed. You send a text on your iPhone but someone using WeChat can’t see it on a laptop. You hold a video chat with the home office on Google Hangouts, but no one using Skype can tap in and join your discussion. Apps are made for specific platforms and operating systems.

Microsoft experts explained how the universe of Windows 10 apps will work for most of us -- starting this summer when the new OS finally ships. (Does it seem like we’ve been hearing about the next release for about ten years now?) It’s going to be a game-changer. Universal apps like Netflix will look and act the same whether you are on a tablet, a phone, the Xbox One, or on a desktop in the office.

More than that, Microsoft reps explained how developers will be able to use one main code base for these apps and port them over to multiple devices. They showed how the app Candy Crush was re-purposed quickly for Windows without a ton of re-coding.

I'm excited about this new windows future, and edge specifically. We need this monolithic companies to fight each other and create better products. We all win -- and surf faster.

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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