Phoenix: Microsoft working on Edge redesign
According to a report, Microsoft is working on a redesign of its Edge web browser, code-named "Phoenix," that should better differentiate Microsoft Edge from its browser competition.
Development focuses on an updated user interface compatible with Windows 11, productivity features and deeper integration with Windows 11.
Edge Phoenix was first shared by WalkingCat on Twitter and is an internal redesign of the browser. Microsoft used the browser to collected feedback internally regarding changes and make development decisions based on it.
It is a project that Microsoft has been working on since last summer and is being developed piecemeal. Bits of Phoenix are included in development editions of Microsoft's Edge web browser already. The experimental features need to be enabled before they become available, and should be considered a work in progress at this stage.
Edge: Experimental appearance features
The following flags are available in Microsoft Edge Canary:
- Show Windows 11 visual effects in title bar and toolbar: edge://flags/#edge-visual-rejuv-mica
- Make Rounded Tabs feature available: edge://flags/#edge-visual-rejuv-rounded-tabs
- Enable Windows 11 Acrylic effect in menus: edge://flags/#edge-visual-rejuv-materials-menu
These features enable rounded tabs in Edge and make the title bar, toolbar and menus look more like a native Windows 11 application than a generic Chromium-based browser. It is an attempt to make Microsoft Edge stand out from the rest.
The Split View feature that Microsoft rolled out in development editions of Microsoft Edge was first envisioned in Phoenix. Microsoft could roll out specific features to Edge over time, or launch a massive update that incorporates all of the redesign features at once.
Windows Central reports that Microsoft is testing a Tab Activity Center feature in Edge that works similarly to the Screen Time and Digital Wellbeing features of Apple's iPhone and Google's Android operating systems. Tab Activity Center offers insights on browser usage.
Other ideas that Microsoft considers is adding system-wide password management functionality to Edge and adding Edge's setup to the Windows out of the box experience.
It is likely that some experiments won't make it into stable versions of the Edge browser.
Microsoft's current approach when it comes to differentiate its browser from others has been focused on security and functions. Most Home users may not notice differences in security, as most of it is happening in the background.
Functionality-wise, Edge has received several features that differentiate it from Chrome. There is the Edge sidebar, support for vertical tabs, Microsoft Rewards integration, the sleeping tabs feature or tracking prevention.
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