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Build 2023: Microsoft Edge to Add New Business Experience, More

Posted May 23, 2023 | Build 2023 | Cloud | Microsoft Edge | Web browsers | Windows

Earlier this year, Microsoft added new AI features to its Edge browser, which now sports a prominent Bing button on its toolbar. At its Build conference this morning, Microsoft detailed new additions to Edge including a redesigned interface and new productivity features.

“This year at Build, we’re raising the bar on what a browser can and should do in today’s digital world to help you, your business, and the sites and web apps you create to stay at the forefront,” wrote Lindsay Kubasik, Group Product Manager, Edge Enterprise.

Before we dive into Edge updates for business users and developers, let’s start with the redesigned user interface Microsoft’s web browser will soon receive.

Microsoft Edge design updates

Microsoft Edge is getting a Windows 11-inspired redesign. Tabs will become rounded and the user profile photo will be moved to the top left corner.

The sidebar, which includes shortcuts to Microsoft apps including the AI-powered Bing is about to welcome third-party PWAs. Microsoft will give web developers the tools to build new sidebar experiences with just a few lines of code.

“Sites that support the sidebar are also promoted for user discovery and pinning within the sidebar, allowing web developers to reach new audiences and support new multi-tasking scenarios,” explained Kubasik. If you find the Edge sidebar is a waste of space, you should be able to continue to hide it.

Microsoft Edge new design
The new Microsoft Edge design

Microsoft Edge for Business Experience

Microsoft Edge for Business is a new work experience that’s launching in preview today. It’s set to become the default experience for organizations that need to better separate private browsing activities from work-related tasks. Microsoft Edge for Business will also provide a better managed experience on mobile devices.

“With users separating their work and personal content, personal data can be excluded from enterprise sync, which happens in the work browser window. This gives users the privacy they want. At the same time, IT maintains controls over the security and compliance posture of Microsoft Edge, whether work or personal,” Kubasik explained.

Microsoft Edge for Business is now available in preview on managed devices, and you learn more details on this page. It will be available for non-managed devices in the coming months.

Microsoft 365 Copilot integration

The new Microsoft 365 Copilot, which is now available via a paid early access program will be natively integrated into Microsoft Edge. When reading through a file opened in the browser, the productivity assistant will be able to highlight its key points. Building on the existing Microsoft Search experience in Edge, the Microsoft 365 Copilot will also let Edge users access even more detailed information about what’s happening in their organization.

Thanks to the new Microsoft 365 Copilot plugins that Microsoft also announced today, Edge users will also be able to interact with third-party services using natural language. The first plugins to be available include ChatGPT plugins, with Microsoft Teams apps and Power Platform connectors coming soon.

Microsoft 365 Copilot in Microsoft Edge
The Microsoft 365 Copilot in Microsoft Edge

For Edge users logged in with a work or school account, the Microsoft Search experience in the sidebar will also be improved. Microsoft said that it will soon surface more relevant company results based on your activity.

Microsoft Edge Workspaces is going out of preview

Announced at Ignite last fall, Microsoft Edge Workspaces is a new productivity feature that lets users share a set of tabs and favorites with other users. “Since our announcement at Ignite, thousands of customers have used Edge Workspaces in preview to organize their projects and stay in sync,” Kubasik wrote.

Microsoft announced a limited public preview for Edge Workspaces last month, and the company is now ready to roll out the feature to all Edge users. Edge Workspaces should drop its preview tag “in the next few months,” but in the meantime, enthusiasts can still join the public preview on this page.

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