Microsoft published a new version of the company’s Edge web browser on August 19, 2022. Edge 104 is a new stable update that introduces the sidebar to the stable population.
Microsoft Edge 104.0.1293.63 i.e. the full version number is already available and can be found on most user systems already. Select Menu > Help & feedback > About Microsoft Edge to view the installed version. Edge runs an update check when the page is opened and any new version it discovers is installed.
Microsoft Edge 104: Introducing the Sidebar
The main novelty of Microsoft Edge 104 is the introduction of the sidebar. The Sidebar is displayed on the right side of the Edge window and includes a mix of features that all open in an expanded sidebar in Edge.
Features include Bing Search, Discover, Office, Outlook, Games and Tools. By selecting the Bing icon, Edge users can search Bing from the sidebar, while another website is displayed in the same window.
Discover displays information about the active website or related content. Games are powered by MSN, but individual games open in the main area, not the sidebar. Games can be disabled by administrators using the Allow games menu Politics.
The tools are specific to Microsoft Edge; it includes a calculator, unit converter, internet speed test, translator, and other services that all open and run in the browser sidebar.
Outlook displays Outlook email and calendar right in the sidebar, and Office links to various Office apps and recently used documents, provided the Edge user is signed in with a Microsoft account.
Sidebar functionality is gradually rolling out to the entire Edge population. Administrators can use the Show hubs sidebar policy to disable the feature for managed devices.
The Microsoft Edge sidebar is not an Edge-specific feature. Vivaldi and Opera web browsers already support a sidebar. Vivaldi’s sidebar, for example, supports mail and feed views, but can also be used to display internal pages, such as downloads, bookmarks, or browsing history.
Opera’s sidebar includes a similar mix of external services and internal pages, but with a heavy emphasis on social media and messaging services.
Microsoft pushes its own services into the sidebar. Some users may find some of the sidebar options useful, such as running Bing searches while keeping another web page open in the browser.
Edge users who don’t use the sidebar can minimize it by clicking the minimize button or use the aforementioned policy to disable it completely.
Now you: sidebars in the browser: useful or not?