Microsoft Edge may have advanced by leaps and bounds over the past few years, but does it now have enough useful and unique features to replace Chrome as the world’s favorite browser? A few features may convince you.
You might think that two browsers based on the same technology, Chromium, would be pretty equal in terms of tools and features. But with Edge and Chrome, that’s not what we see. Chrome is clearly doing something right, as it remains by far the most widely used desktop browser in the world, but there’s no doubt that Microsoft is looking for a bigger slice of the pie.
It’s an ambition that seems to be supported by the amount of work put into Edge and the number of new features and tools that are regularly added. There may be a long way to go before it matches the popularity of the Google browser, but there’s never been a better time to consider switching to Edge.
Here are some of the useful tools Edge has that Chrome doesn’t.
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While it doesn’t immediately strike you as a killer feature, the option to move your open tabs to the side of the window in Edge is really useful. This is especially true if you have a lot of tabs open, as it gives more space to display the page title. You lose some screen real estate, but that can be alleviated by unpinning the tab pane so it’s minimized when you’re not using it.
When it comes to general tab options, Edge beat Chrome hands down. The Microsoft browser lets you search for tabs from the same menu as the vertical tabs option. When you perform a search, a new panel opens, allowing you to search for words contained in the titles of your open and recently closed tabs.
And speaking of recently closed tabs, unlike Chrome which only allows you to reopen the last closed tab, Edge gives you a whole list. It will even allow you to open tabs from your other devices if they are using Edge as their browser.
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The edge bar
The Edge bar is probably one of Edge’s most overlooked features. This useful tool gives you a snapshot of Microsoft News Feed from the start page. It also lets you search the web and pin favorite websites, all from a slim panel that sits on the side of your screen.
The Edge bar may appear for the first time after installing an Edge update. Otherwise, you can activate it from the Edge menu > More tools. Once you open the Edge bar, it will remain even after closing the main Edge browser window. In Edge Settings > Edge Bar, you can choose to automatically open the bar when you start your computer.
Web Capture is a tool that allows you to save an entire web page as an image. This will be more useful for some people than others, but if you want to share an image of a web page without having to send multiple images or stitch multiple screenshots into a single image, Web Capture is a great tool. .
You select Web Capture either from the Edge menu or by right-clicking on the page and selecting it from the context menu. The Web Snipping Tool has two options: Snipping Area and Snipping Entire Page. The former lets you capture a specific area of the page, and the latter captures the entire page and opens the image in a preview. You can then draw or write on the image, before saving or sharing it.
Although it is possible to take a screenshot of an entire page in Chrome, it is a hidden developer tool and has no annotation capability. You can also save web pages in Chrome as components. You can also save an entire page by selecting Print from the menu and then saving it as a PDF file. None of these options are as simple, neat, or accessible as Web Snipping in Edge.
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picture in picture
You’ve been able to enable picture-in-picture (PiP) mode when watching videos in Edge for a while now, but it was easy to miss it if you didn’t know. You had to enable the PiP control button in Edge settings or right-click on a video and select the option from the context menu.
Microsoft has since enabled the Picture-in-Picture control by default. When viewing a video on a website in Edge, a small PiP control button will appear at the top of the video window. You can then click the button to continue watching the video in a small drop-down window. You can resize the video viewer and move it around the screen if its original position does not suit you.
Chrome allows picture-in-picture on YouTube videos, but it’s not obvious how you enable it. If you don’t know, you need to right click twice on a video and select it from the second context menu. And while PiP in Edge won’t work on every video you find online, it does at least work for some that are hosted on sites other than YouTube.
Collections in Edge are kind of like digital moodboards. They are very useful when you are looking for something online because they allow you to group together links, images and text. You may end up with a much neater selection of information, rather than just a bunch of bookmarked links.
Collections probably aren’t something you’ll use every day, but they’re still a great new way to save information from the Internet. There are extensions for Chrome, such as Note Board, that do a similar job. But without adding software to Chrome, there is nothing similar in Google Browser.
See our guide to using Edge Collections for more information on this useful feature.
Chrome is known to be a resource-intensive browser, especially if you have multiple tabs open. Edge doesn’t have the same reputation for gobbling up system memory, but still gives you several performance options, including Efficiency Mode.
Efficiency mode is activated from the Edge menu. When the mode is enabled, it automatically puts unused tabs to sleep after a set period. It also slightly limits the use of the Edge processor, which further improves the overall PC performance and can also help extend the battery life of laptops.
Utility is a relative term. You might think that all of these Edge tools seem useful, maybe just a few or none of them. Edge certainly gives you plenty of options and plenty of ways to customize it to your liking. Now might be a great time to try Microsoft Browser, to see if it can replace Chrome on your computer.
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