Several new features for Microsoft Edge are entering a public beta; all with the goal to improve user collaboration, transparency, and internet usability.
Originally announced back in October 2022, Workspaces let people share a group of browser tabs with others. The tool will live in a new button in the top left corner of the Edge browser. Clicking it lets you create a Workspace window with an original name and color theme. From there, you collect whatever tabs you want, then select Share Workspaces in said button where you are given a hyperlink to share. Those recipients can continue adding to the tab group if they want to grow it even further before sending it back to you.
Microsoft points out Workspaces is “not browser screen sharing, nor does it share browser data" with others in a group. “Confidential data like logins, cookies, [or] passwords” will be not shared either, according to the announcement. All people see are the tabs.
Before you open Edge to try out Workspaces, you first need to have a Microsoft account (obviously) as well as a recent version of the Edge browser on either PC or Mac. Be aware this is a limited preview so not everyone will get to try out the feature, but there are plans to expand to more users throughout "the next several months.” Also, groups will be small as Workspaces is currently limited to five invitees.
Out with the old; in with the new
Moving on to the next major addition, you have the return of Autoplay Blocking with a new Block setting that’ll stop all automatic media playback on websites. Previously with the Limit option, you were only allowed to stop autoplaying videos on sites you’ve visited before. There is a catch with this feature: Autoplay Blocking is restricted to the Canary Channel version of Microsoft Edge so you’ll need to install the other browser, and even then, only a handful can try it out. However, there are plans to expand user availability.
Less restrictive is Browser Essentials, a stats panel that will be the future replacement for the Performance Hub. It provides details on key “performance and safety features like Efficiency Mode, Sleeping Tabs, and SmartScreen scanning.” For example, you can see how many websites Edge scanned to see if there was any malware lurking, as well as the number of dangerous downloads it blocked.
Browser Essentials will be available on Edge 112, which is currently rolling out, according to the release schedule. If you don’t yet have the update, Microsoft states you can join either the Canary or Dev channels of the Windows Insider Program to try out the tool. You’ll know you have it if you see a heart icon in the toolbar.
Because these are works in progress, the company is asking users to give their opinion on them. Each feature has its own method of providing feedback like hitting thumbs up or thumbs down in their respective menu. We did reach out to Microsoft to see when everything will officially launch. This story will be updated at a later time.