If you have a work PC, chances are you’ll soon see the latest twist on Microsoft’s browser: Microsoft Edge for Business, complete with (of course) AI.
At its Microsoft Build developer conference this week, Microsoft will announce several tweaks to Edge, including its first dedicated business browser. Microsoft calls the new Edge the “standard browser experience for organizations,” with its own separate logo and icon on your taskbar. You’ll see more in the Edge sidebar, too: the inclusion of Microsoft 365 Copilot, web apps, and a new “Workspaces” collection of tabs that can be simultaneously shared and browsed with coworkers.
Microsoft Edge already allows you to browse and open windows in both a personal and business account. But Microsoft is promising that Edge for Business, now in preview, will automatically separate personal browsing from your company’s business environment, backup, and management.
If you need to check your Gmail or your child’s grades, for example, Edge will automatically open another window with its own separate cache and storage location. You can also exclude personal information from being swept up in syncing or backing up on your company’s server.
Microsoft will also beef up Edge in general with even more AI options. Microsoft 365 Copilot has previously been targeted at Microsoft’s Office apps, including Teams. Now you’ll begin to see it within Edge, provided you’re signed in to a corporate Microsoft account.
Incidentally, Microsoft is leaning heavily into plugins within Microsoft 365, after announcing them for Edge.
More than 50 plugins from partners will be available for customers as part of an early access program for Copilot plugins, including Atlassian, Adobe, ServiceNow, Thomson Reuters, Moveworks and Mural, with thousands more to be added by the time Microsoft 365 Copilot is available widely, Microsoft said.
Microsoft will also begin adding web apps to the Edge sidebar, too. Recall that we’ve already seen Edge sidebar apps, which Microsoft calls Tools. Now, in addition to Microsoft 365 Copilot, Microsoft is encouraging web app developers to add a few lines of code to turn them into Edge sidebar apps, too. That probably means you’ll be able to stick web apps like ChatGPT inside the Edge sidebar—though that probably won’t be that much different than a bookmark.
Perhaps the oddest update to Edge will be a collection of web pages, called Microsoft Edge Workspaces, that Microsoft will roll out in the next few months. Workspaces sound a lot like Edge Collections, the grouped tabs that you can store for planning a beach vacation, for example. Workspaces, though, allow you to view these tabs simultaneously with coworkers, which sounds…fun? Microsoft sure thinks so, noting that the test pool of beta users was over-subscribed twice.
Based on the enthusiasm, Microsoft will roll out Edge Workspaces for consumers and businesses over the next few months. If nothing else, expect Edge to get a lot more cluttered in the months ahead.