For months, the internet hype machine has been preparing for the release of Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10, and a brand new internet browser, codenamed Project Spartan.
Unfortunately, Microsoft dashed the hopes of Project Spartan fans today by announcing that their new browser won’t be called Project Spartan: it’s called Microsoft Edge.
In a new page announcing the browser, Microsoft called Edge “the newest way to surf the web.”
You can click on the Microsoft Edge tile on the Start menu to open the browser or type Edge into the search box.
What Do People Think of the Name Change?
The name change generated surprisingly little discussion on the internet. Few articles were written about Edge and it seemed like people didn’t really care what Microsoft’s newest browser was called.
Most of the Microsoft Edge articles talked about the name change in a matter-of-fact way without stating opinions.
But The Verge recently launched its opinion onto the internet with an article called “Microsoft’s new browser has a name only a mother could love.” That article went pretty much as you would expect.
The Verge said that Microsoft Edge sounded “like some type of datacenter or corporate IT package from a decade ago.” It evoked ideas like the “dreadful EDGE pre-3G internet connection.”
The Verge also ripped Microsoft apart for sticking with a nearly-identical browser logo. What happened to the total rebranding project? Why would you choose a name with the same letter as the previous internet browser that people hated?
These are all good questions.
As an example of a good name change, the writer of that article referenced Cortana. Microsoft was planning to name its digital assistant Naomi or Alyx or another equally-as-boring name. Instead, an online petition pushed Microsoft to accept Cortana – which is a genuinely cool and memorable name.
Did Microsoft fail to create that buzz with Microsoft Edge? It sure seems that way at the moment – especially with the weird logo decision.
Unique Microsoft Edge Features
Microsoft also announced some of the new features in Edge, including:
Fast Address Bar Searching
Just like with most modern browsers, you can type things into the address bar to immediately search them. But with Edge, you don’t have to press Enter. Your bookmarks and history appear right there on the spot. And if you type in something like “Weather”, you’ll immediately see the weather in your area.
You know how Chrome stores your bookmarks across all devices? Microsoft aims to do that with Hub, which it calls “all your stuff in one place.” You can store your reading list, favorites, browsing history, and current downloads in the Hub.
Scribble on Internet Pages
The first two features are cool, but unsurprising. The new Web Note feature is genuinely cool and unique. You can doodle all over webpages before sharing them with people. Scribble on recipes with your own unique instructions or draw moustaches on your friend’s Facebook profiles. You can use a touchscreen to scribble on the internet or use your mouse.
Read with Fewer Distractions
Go to a site like Buzzfeed and try to read an article from top to bottom without reading anything else. It’s almost impossible. You’re bombarded by sexy thumbnails in every corner of the screen. Clickbait headlines break up the middles of the stories. I pray for anyone with ADHD who has to use the internet in 2015.
Edge will let you focus on the article and its pictures and nothing else. Minimize distractions by entering reading view. You can customize your style and font size to suit your reading ability.
Cortana is a key part of Edge. Highlight a word on the internet and right-click it (or press and hold it), then click Ask Cortana. A thorough description of that word will appear on the side of your browser screen. Expect Cortana to be fully integrated with Edge.
What About Security?
Ultimately, many users don’t care about any of these features: they just care about security. And for years, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has lagged behind Chrome and Firefox in terms of security – even if it’s not too far behind in terms of speed and usability.
Microsoft hasn’t announced any security features with Edge yet, but expect that to be a key part of their marketing moving forward.
If Microsoft can boost its security with the new browser, then I really don’t care what they call it. Microsoft Edge sounds great to me.
Microsoft Registers Domain Names Like MicrosoftEdgeSucks.com
One of the most interesting things to come out of the Microsoft browser name change was that the company is taking a proactive approach to brand protection. At the same time as they announced the name change, Microsoft instructed their brand protection company, MarkMonitor, to buy at least four different domain names, including:
Is this normal for a company to do this? Is Microsoft anticipating that its browser will generate the same waves of criticism as Internet Explorer? Or is this just normal behind-the-scenes brand protection stuff you would expect?