Microsoft Edge’s new Sidebar menu is now rolling out to select
users in the browser’s Canary channel, allowing users to search
the web on Bing without opening a new tab, access tools like
Calculator, read emails on Outlook, and browser MSN games
without navigating away from the current page.
Edge’s new sidebar is similar to Vivaldi’s web panel and it’s
particularly useful when you’re reading a page, but you need to
perform an additional task. For example, you may need to launch
Windows Calculator or check your internet speed if a particular
website is not responding.
With Edge’s sidebar, you can access features like Bing search,
Discover (a new way to discover web results related to the
content of the website), web calculator, unit conversion tool,
internet speed test, and access MSN games catalogue. However,
you cannot play games in the sidebar as links will open a new
tab. This also applies to Office apps.
Likewise, when you’re reading a page, you may also need to send
emails related to what you are reading. The sidebar also comes
with Outlook integration, so you can easily jot down the points
in the mail and send mails without navigating away from the
current page or browser tab.
Microsoft Edge also has a great new option that lets you add
your favourite sites to the sidebar to perform contextual
actions without breaking your flow. However, many sites are not
really optimized to work in a small screen region, so Edge’s
sidebar custom site feature is not always useful.
Some people may term Edge’s new sidebar feature as yet another
bloatware, but the feature is entirely optional and you can
hide it from the browser’s main menu. You can also use the
keyboard short Ctrl + Shit + / to enable or disable the
sidebar, or you can turn it from the Settings page.
This new sidebar is currently rolling out to select users only,
so only some people have access to the feature. To use it,
make sure you have Edge’s Canary latest, then look for a new
option ‘Sidebar’ in the menu, and select to launch it on the
right side of the browser.
You can also activate the sidebar by pressing Ctrl + Shift + /
In addition to the sidebar,
Microsoft is also exploring support for YouTube
integration, which will allow users to follow their
creators and get notifications when a new video is uploaded.