New Features: Microsoft Edge and File Explorer Announced for Windows 11
During MSBuild, Microsoft announced new solutions and features for Edge. The new Edge has received AI-powered upgrades and a redesigned, better experience on mobile devices. This is focused on improving the user experience for businesses and enterprises. Additionally, the company announced Microsoft 365 Copilot, which will be natively integrated into Edge. We can expect to see Copilot in calendar events, emails, chats, and documents.
These integrations will enhance the browsing experience in Edge by combining user data in Microsoft Graph with the power of large language models and Microsoft 365 apps. The long-awaited Microsoft Edge is now in beta testing and rolling out to users to organize and manage their browsing projects and files. In Edge Browser, there will be an integration with 365 Copilot in the sidebar which will assist with tasks in Microsoft 365 apps such as drafting emails and working on spreadsheets using content from the current site.
Microsoft’s AI-powered Copilot assistant is coming to the Edge browser. It will use the context of the website you’re visiting to help you complete tasks. For example, it can summarize information about a lead that was discussed in a meeting, email, or chat and suggest using that information to reply to an email from your supervisor. Copilot is powered by OpenAI and uses the GPT-4 AI model. The new Edge version of Copilot exists in the browser sidebar and can remain active as you browse, allowing you to interact with a Bing AI-style dialog box that waits for you to ask it to do things.
In addition, Edge will support the new Microsoft 365 Copilot plug-ins, which enable an experience where people can interact with an app using chatbot prompts that reside in the browser’s sidebar and remain active as you browse. You can interact with it using natural language. Microsoft 365 Copilot is currently in preview and requires an Azure AD-based work account for usage. These additions to Edge align with Microsoft’s commitments to data security and privacy in the enterprise.
Redesigned Microsoft Edge
Microsoft Edge has been redesigned with a modern look that makes it visually appealing and technologically advanced. This new design follows the Microsoft Design language and includes rounded corners, translucent backgrounds, and fluid animation. Edge also has a container system that makes it easier to view multiple items simultaneously.
New features in Edge include Microsoft Search and smart find for finding things on the page. Edge also has a new experience designed for separate work and personal browsing with enterprise controls for IT admins. Other new features include Microsoft 365 Copilot integration, Nook Look, Microsoft Edge Workspace, features for developers and IT admins, and Progressive Web App in Sidebar.
This redesign looks more modern and feels more lightweight, responsive, and engaging. With Edge’s container system, it’s easier to stay organized and focused while browsing. Microsoft Edge will be natively integrated with the new design featuring rounded corners and translucent backgrounds.
It’s getting several new features including a completely new design and business-first features. Microsoft Edge for Business helps separate work and personal web browsing experiences. Other new features include Progressive Web app
Microsoft Edge for Business
Microsoft Edge for Business is a special version of Microsoft Edge that’s designed for professionals. It has unique features and visual elements that make it a great application for work. It has enterprise controls, security measures, and productivity features that address security risks associated with hybrid working, where employees access company information from personal devices. This allows employees to view the same projects and files in shared browser tabs.
Work and personal browsing are separated into different caches, and work-related apps open in the work browser. Admins can configure security controls to ensure workers only access necessary information. Microsoft Edge workspace will be introduced soon, allowing employees to view shared projects and files in browser tabs.
It will be available on mobile devices running iOS and Android, allowing employees to work on their personal mobile devices while maintaining security. Each account will have VPN, which enables users with corporate accounts to securely access sensitive company information. This includes support for shared device mode, which benefits frontline workers who share devices. This mode provides a streamlined experience, making it easier for multiple users to use the same device efficiently.
Developers can now easily record apps to run in the Microsoft Edge sidebar with minimal lines of code. The DevTool has a focus mode with a customizable interface. The JSON viewer is now available in Edge eliminating the need for separate browser extensions to inspect JSON data. Other features for developers include faster screenshots with the Memory tool, enhanced traces, and select stats.
Here are some key features included in this update:
- Record apps to run in Microsoft Edge
- Focus mode in Microsoft Edge DevTools
- New JSON viewer
- Ability to take screenshots faster with the Memory tool
- New features like enhanced traces and selector stats
- Edge WebView2 available in preview for HoloLens and coming later this year to Xbox
Edge WebView2 will be available in preview for HoloLens and coming later this year to Xbox. IT admins will have access to the Edge management service, which is a dedicated management experience in the Microsoft 365 admin center. The Edge management service simplifies managing group policies and extensions with a user-friendly interface. It is said to be coming with build 2023, which also brings the ability to restore pinned apps from the Microsoft Store and a similar app-compatibility feature in Windows 11.
Regarding the IT admin feature, it is a dedicated management experience with the Microsoft 365 Admin center, designed to simplify managing group policies and extensions with a user-friendly interface and a drop-down menu for easier administration. Edge for Business is available, offering a separate browsing experience for work-related activity and sites. Logins automatically open in Edge for Business, and users can switch between work and personal windows.
A new and modern-looking File Explorer is coming to Windows 11. The address and search bar have been relocated closer to the tabs, while file and folder actions have been moved closer to the main navigation panel. The left navigation tree has also been updated to match the design language of Windows 11. There’s also a Gallery page available in Preview for Windows Insiders and a Home Page with recommended files.
The company has also redesigned the details pane of File Explorer, which is based on WinUI 3, the latest UI platform for Windows 11 apps that matches the Windows 11 design language. The company is gradually modernizing the look and feel of Windows 11, including updates to Task Manager and the Volume mixer. The company didn’t share where they will be releasing the new File Explorer changes, but it will be available to test for Windows Insiders.
The redesign includes updates to the visual of folders, the sidebar, and the address and search bar. It has been optimized for both mouse and touch input. The company has recently made several changes to the File Explorer UI in 2021 and added tabs in 2022, but the new redesign will cover everything below the header interface. Microsoft is also working on a Gallery feature, which is currently in the Windows Insider Preview channel, and it will integrate Microsoft 365 and provide contextual information about shared files and recent activity.
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