Microsoft has released a new update to its Edge web browser that includes a new sidebar, allowing you to reply to emails, use parts of the Office suite, and more.
Having previously confirmed that it is under development, the new sidebar is yet another attempt by the company to lure you away from other browsers such as Google Chrome, Opera, and others.
As Microsoft explains in a blog post, (Opens in a new tab) You can access a bunch of features, like Office files, Outlook email, play games, and access useful tools like a clock, calculator, and dictionary for a reason.
You can launch it by going to the three dots at the top left, and there will be “Show sidebar‘Option at the bottom or by pressing Control + Shift + /. You can’t change its size, but you have six ready-made options to choose from.
The Discover feature is welcome enough that it will give you bits of trivia as you browse the web, from recipes to movie junk. There is also the calculator and other functions instead of accessing the taskbar.
However, the Office tab leaves a lot to be desired, as clicking on any of the applications will launch the web page of the respective applications. This is the same for games as well, which leads us to wonder what the point of this sidebar actually is.
It’s almost all back to the old web browsers’ popup bars where you can pin a search engine bar under the address bar. Or if you want to install an app, there will be an option to install the toolbar.
The above is an example of how to install a suite, most of which are not terribly useful. The sidebar reminds me of these, as it’s basically a bunch of links and some useful utilities, but not much else.
Microsoft could do better here, instead of trying (and failing) to run catch-up on other web browsers.