Gadgets for humans

Microsoft Edge tries to one-up Chrome with instant video calls and more


Microsoft Edge‘s move to Chromium was arguably an essential one if it wanted to remain competitive against Chrome, but in doing so it lost some of its uniqueness. As of right now, the browsers offer a very similar set of features.

But now Microsoft is trying to differentiate its browser a bit by adding a few features you won’t find in Chrome without adding extensions, including a quick video call feature, a nifty new screenshotting tool, and built-in price comparisons.

The video-calling tool, Meet Now, might be the coolest new feature. You’ll see the Meet Now button right on the new tab page. Tap on Meet Now and you’ll be able to quickly create a link to start a video call with up to 50 people — no special software required from anyone.

While just a year ago, the idea of having an instant video-calling button in your browser might’ve seemed excessive, it could be a useful tool during, you know, these uncertain times. The feature is rolling out to Edge “this month,” and will arrive to Outlook on the Web and the Windows 10 taskbar “in the coming weeks.”

Meanwhile, the screenshot tool not only allows you to select the specific part of a website you want to capture, but also scroll down the website to capture an extra-long image. Windows Insiders also gain early access to one of the features I most miss about the old Edge, the ability to easily annotate websites with inking capability.

The price comparison feature allows you to build a catalog of products using Edge’s ‘Collection’ tool — basically a built-in version of Pinterest — and then tap on a new “compare price to other retailers” button to do just that. It’s pretty barebones, but the point is having the convenience built-in.

Speaking of Pinterest, Microsoft is also rolling out deeper Pinterest integration widely, making it easy to find related products to those in your collection. If you enable the Collections + Pinterest feature, you’ll then be able to be redirected to Pinterest from your items list to find related content.

For these and more features arriving in Edge, you can check out Microsoft’s blog post here.


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Published October 8, 2020 — 22:32 UTC