Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 Spring Creators Update sometime this week and the newest version of the operating system comes with many new features. With the Spring Creators Update, Microsoft is also improving Start menu and Microsoft Edge, the default browser that replaced Internet Explorer.
While Microsoft Edge is evolving, and new features are only added with every release of Windows 10, the company has often been criticized for rolling out Edge features with the releases of new Windows 10 updates which typically happens two times per year. As a result, Microsoft Edge is not updated as frequently as Google Chrome.
The rumours claimed that Microsoft planned to move Microsoft Edge to the Store for faster updating but these plans have eventually been cancelled for the time being. If the Redmond giant ever plans to bring Edge to the Store, the company could guarantee more frequent improvements.
Nevertheless, the newest version of Windows 10 brings a couple of new features to the Edge browser. The changes that we are going to discuss will land with the release of Windows 10 Spring Creators Update this week.
Meet the improved Microsoft Edge in the Spring Creators Update
While the Spring Creators Update is a major release, it won’t bring a dramatic overhaul of Microsoft Edge. Microsoft is adding new features and refining the Fluent Design in the newest version of Edge.
Microsoft Edge is not considered as a powerful rival to Google Chrome and Firefox but it is much better than these two browsers in terms of touchscreen support and interface.
Variable Fonts for Microsoft Edge Browser
Microsoft is adding full support for Variable Fonts in Microsoft Edge browser, the new default browser in Windows 10. Microsoft says that the fonts enable rich typography rendering, and the font can be customized by the developers and it would look completely different. The animations created with fonts will improve the browsing experience.
“For years, rich typography has been the envy of many web designers, who long for the typographic variety, texture, and precision available in print media. Now, with the recent innovations of OpenType Variable Fonts―pioneered in collaboration between Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, Google, and others―and new standards allowing for developers to control font variations in CSS, things are about to change,” Microsoft Edge team said in a blog post.
Improved PDF reading support, redesigned Hub and more
Microsoft Edge is the default PDF reader in the Windows 10 operating system, and the browser is rated as the best PDF reader rather than the best browser. The PDF reading experience in Microsoft Edge is actually much better than Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.
With the newest version of Windows 10, you can now save free EPUB books in the Edge browser and the PDF bookmarks experience has also been improved. Microsoft is bringing a new UI to the reader, and it can be configured in settings.
Microsoft Edge has simplified adding and managing bookmarks for EPUB and PDF books. You can add bookmarks manually and it is actually much easier to manage the bookmarks from one location.
Microsoft Edge comes with a redesigned Hub and improved favourites bar that would be displayed when accessing Start or the New Tab pages, this is supposed to make the experience a lot faster and easier. Microsoft has also improved the inPrivate mode, and it offers enhanced security.
The software giant added small tweaks to mute audio for individual tabs. Microsoft Edge also supports a new feature that could be used to save card information and auto-complete the card information whenever required. Last but not the least, these data are synced with the Microsoft account, and the sensitive information such as CVV is not stored. You can also block password saving for certain websites, and this is a useful feature for organizations where more than one user is connected to the internet.
Fluent Design improvements
Microsoft is bringing an updated dark theme to the Edge browser with the Spring Creators Update. Unlike the dark theme introduced in the Fall Creators Update, the newest version of Edge has darker blacks, and much better contrast with all colours, text, and icons. It makes it more visually pleasing and the experience is undoubtedly much better, making the browser look and feel a little bit more modern.
Microsoft Edge UI seems easy to navigate and the company has also added Reveal effect to buttons in the tab bar, navigation buttons, action buttons. You can also notice the Reveal effect in Favorites, Reading, History and Downloads hubs. The Fluent Design language has also expanded to other elements of Microsoft Edge, for example, the reveal effects are available in the Acrylic title bar.
Push notifications, Offline websites and Progressive Web Apps support
Microsoft has finally enabled service workers in the Edge browser that brings support for Cache APIs and Push Notification. The browser has been criticized for lacking Push notification support. In a blog post, the software giant explained that the web pages could send the notifications to a PC and it would appear in Action Center, while the data is refreshed in the background even when the browser is closed.
Microsoft Edge is also updated with the ability to load websites offline if the developer allows. In other words, certain web pages can now work offline to improve performance, the cache is stored in the browser. These features enable Progressive Web Apps support.
Microsoft Edge finally supports Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) that work just like native apps and they’re wrapped in an appx. container. The PWAs work offline and send push notifications like an app. Microsoft recently published PWAs in the Store and without any major tweaks, these apps can be installed on Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Xbox One consoles, PCs and even phones. Microsoft says that PWAs will be full-featured apps and you wouldn’t notice any difference.
“We’ve been using the Bing Crawler to identify PWAs on the web for nearly a year, and as we’ve reviewed the nearly 1.5 million candidates, we’ve identified a small initial set of Progressive Web App experiences which we’ll be indexing for Windows 10 customers to take for a spin over the coming weeks,” Microsoft explained.