Last week, word leaked that Microsoft is hard at work on a new web browser for Windows 10 and that it is not going to be Internet Explorer. More details of that project — codenamed Spartan— started to eke out Thursday.
Tom Warren at The Verge, citing sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans, says that Spartan will have a host of new features, many of which aren’t found in other browsers.
Warren says that the chief feature is support for new “inking support” that will allow Windows 10 users to annotate a web page with notes or diagrams and then send those annotations to others. The feature would be powered by Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud platform.
Web page annotation isn’t a new thing — we’ve seen this from other companies such as Evernote for years — but being built into the browser and built around OneDrive could make certain types of collaboration even easier. (We should note that it also reminds us of the long-aborted Microsoft Courier tablet project.)
The other big feature Warren reports is integration with Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. The integration sounds similar to what Google does with Google Now. The idea being that users can use the address bar in the browser to search for information Cortana is tracking, such as flight information, package tracking and travel dates. Warren says that the Cortana integration would replace the similar features Bing covers in Internet Explorer.
Other features reportedly include a better way of grouping tabs (similar to Safari and Firefox). Warren also reports that Microsoft’s plans for Spartan are for it to be a single browser that lives across the desktop, the tablet and on phones. The browser will reportedly look similar across these devices and adopt the more minimalistic interface of Google’s Chrome browser.
The report also states that Microsoft will release Spartan as a Windows Store app, which will help the program get updates that aren’t necessarily tied to core Windows Updates.
As for Internet Explorer, well, the plan seems to be to keep the legacy version of the browser around — but not as the default — for compatibility reasons.
What isn’t clear is what Microsoft will name the new browser. Calling it something other than Internet Explorer could be risky — after all, for better or worse, that is a brand that has a lot of name recognition. On the other hand, breaking away from the IE branding could also be a chance to ditch the reputation IE has — mostly from its IE 6 and IE 7 days — for being old, antiquated and slow.
After all, the browser landscape is a different place than it was a decade ago or even five years ago. The growth of Google Chrome on the desktop and the even bigger shift to browsing on mobile has resulted in Microsoft losing the massive marketshare lead it had over its competitors in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Lest we forget, Microsoft was the subject of a Department of Justice investigation in part because of Internet Explorer. To lose so much ground over the last five or six years now has to be troubling for the company.
Source : Mashable