Microsoft’s Edge browser gets shared Workspaces, new security features and more

It’s Microsoft Ignite this week and while a lot of the announcements this week target the kinds of IT professionals and admins who really need more deployment options for Azure Kubernetes Service through Azure Arc, the company is also announcing a few user-facing updates to its Edge browser.

The most important of these is likely Edge Workspaces, a new feature (currently in preview) that will allow teams to share browser tabs. Microsoft argues that this feature can be useful when bringing on new team members to an existing project. Instead of sharing lots of links and files, the team can simply share a single like to an Edge Workspace (which will then likely consist of lots of links and files, but hey, at least it’s just one link to share). As the project evolves, the tabs are updated in real time. I guess that’s a use case. We’ve seen our share of extensions that do similar things, none of which ever get very popular. Meanwhile, teams share these links and files in other ways (think Confluent, etc.).

Image Credits: Microsoft

On the security front, Microsoft is bringing typo protection for website URLs to the browser, promising to protect “users from accidentally navigating to online fraud sites after misspelling the website address by suggesting the website that the user intended.” Nothing too complicated here, and a useful feature for sure.

Also new is an opt-in enhanced security mode that automatically applies the most conservative settings when you surf to unfamiliar websites. It disables just-in-time JavaScript compilation, for example. The idea here is that users and admins can set off often a user has to visit a site before it’s considered ‘familiar’ and set the level of security accordingly. That won’t help if a familiar site is hacked and somebody introduces malicious code, but it should prevent quite a few security issues.

Finally, Microsoft is also introducing a number of new accessibility features. Edge now features live captions when audio is playing (taking a cue from Google’s playbook on Android) and an enhanced narrator experience now provides more contextual information about fields and buttons for visually impaired users. With this update, screen readers can now also read Edge’s Instant Answers for queries like “Seattle weather.” And with page colors, users will soon be able to change — you guess it — page colors to improve readability and color contrast.

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