Microsoft’s Chromium-powered Edge browser will soon include an “Inspiration feed” among new features and changes that include tweaks to its Collections feature.
Collections, a way to help Edge users collect webpages they’re interested in viewing later, will soon allow you to add video and pictures, as well as to share Collections with other users “so you can collaborate or brainstorm together.”
The Inspiration element, also due for imminent rollout, will be “a feed with content related to your research.”
The additions are due to arrive in the coming weeks and months. Microsoft did not specify the version number, stating only that the updates are due to hit the desktop version of the browser.
How does Inspiration work? Well, if you add “research” regarding motorcycle museums in East Germany into your Collections flow, for example, Edge’s Inspiration feed will suggest related content for you to check out like any recommendation engine might.
“Cool, right?” said Microsoft corporate vice president Liat Ben-Zur.
Those who’ll disagree with that have probably complained about browser trackers more generally getting too personal by serving ads targeted at appealing to you by tracking your previous search history. (You can switch off Edge’s trackers by going to Settings and more > Settings > Privacy, search, and services > Tracking prevention. Set Tracking prevention to On.)
You could also argue, however, that if a user is using Collections and a Microsoft account, it’s sensible for the Windows giant to use their research to make some suggestions.
Visual Search is also on the way, where you can search using an image as well as text. The feature lets you hover over an picture (for example, a photo of a particularly nice light fitting) and have Edge use its Bing search engine to hunt for ones just like it.
Finally, Microsoft is also rolling out the ability to follow content creators on sites such as YouTube and TikTok. Sites such as YouTube already have effective subscription and notification capabilities (and many users instinctively reach for the block option when asked if a site can issue notifications) so the usefulness of this feature is debatable. It also requires a user to be signed in with a Microsoft account.
Microsoft did not reveal how many users are using the Collections feature of Edge (we’ve asked) and the changes are unlikely to drive netizens in the direction of the functionality (instead of the arguably more common use for Edge – downloading something else to use as a browser).
However, if you are a Collections fan and aren’t worried about the implications of Microsoft using your research to suggest something to inspire, the features will be welcome. ®