Microsoft has released a new update to its Edge web browser that includes a new sidebar that lets you reply to emails, use parts of the Office suite, and more.
Having previously been confirmed to be in development, the new sidebar is yet another attempt by the company to tempt you away from other browsers like Google Chrome, Opera and more.
As Microsoft explains in a blog post, (opens in new tab) you can access a bunch of features like Office files, your Outlook email, play games, and access useful tools like a clock, calculator, and dictionary for some reason.
You can launch it by going to the three dots on the top left and there will be a ‘Show sidebar‘ at the bottom or by pressing Control + Shift + /. You can’t resize it, but you get six options ready to choose from.
The Discover feature is welcome enough where it will give you some trivia as you surf the web, from recipes to movie trivia. There’s also a calculator and other features instead of reaching for the taskbar.
However, the Office section leaves a lot to be desired, as clicking on any of the applications launches the web page for those applications. This also applies to games, which makes us wonder what the point of this sidebar is.
This almost harkens back to the popup bars of older web browsers where you could install a search bar below the address bar. Or if you need to install an app, there will be a toolbar install option.
The above is an example of how you can install a bunch, most of which are not very useful. The sidebar reminds me of them, basically being a bunch of links and some useful utilities, but not much else.
Microsoft could do better here instead of trying (and failing) to play catch-up with other web browsers.