4 reasons why you should really use Copilot in Microsoft Edge

If you're a fan of Microsoft's Copilot AI, there are some very good reasons why you should also be using the company's Edge browser as your default.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Microsoft Copilot
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

I only use AI for one purpose… research for writing fiction. On that front, AI has helped me quite a bit (especially when needing to quickly understand a concept that I didn't previously know about or even the etymology of a word). But that's it.

However, when you're writing four to six books every year, research is a key component in the process. To that end, I've leaned heavily into Opera's Aria. Until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't even bothered with Microsoft's Copilot. It wasn't until I installed the Edge browser on Linux (for testing purposes) that I saw how handy Microsoft's AI is. Even better, using Copilot with Edge has a few advantages over even what Opera's Aria includes, and it made me think Edge could (at some point) become my default browser.

Also: How to use Copilot (formerly called Bing Chat)

But what about using Edge with Copilot makes it special? Let me paint a picture for you.

1. Browser usage

Let's face it, you spend the majority of your computer time in a browser. Whether you're working, playing, being social, communicating, or designing, your digital lives have become browser-centric over the last decade. Since you're already spending that much time within a browser, why would you want to bother adding yet another application into the mix? 

Seeing as how our lives are becoming busier by the day, every time we sit in front of our PCs or laptops, the goal should be working as efficiently as possible. If Copilot is your AI of choice, the most efficient means of interacting with it is Edge. It's like having two tools in one. And because Copilot works very similar to Aria on Opera, it opens in a sidebar within the browser itself, so there are no pop-up windows to deal with and it's always there, ready for action.

2. Easy interactions with tabs

One of the things I like about how Copilot is laid out in Edge is that it gives you three tabs: Chat, Compose, and Insights. Chat is the usual query feature, where you ask questions and Copilot answers them. Compose is where you can have Copilot write about something (such as a paragraph, email, ideas, etc.). 

Also: Microsoft Copilot vs. Copilot Pro: Is the subscription fee worth it?

Finally, there's the Insights tab, where you can view trending searches. Although Insights isn't really AI, it can be a good place to start your research and see what searches are trending on Bing. On the official Copilot site, you don't have access to these three options.

3. Profiles

One very handy feature found in Edge is Profiles. The reason this applies to Copilot is that you might have a profile you use that includes Copilot and one that doesn't. For instance, if you use the same computer for both work and personal purposes, you might have a profile for work, with Copilot disabled, and a profile for personal usage with Copilot enabled. 

Also: How to use Copilot Pro to write, edit, and analyze your Word documents

This might seem insignificant, but if your employer doesn't want you using AI, not having the temptation right there in front of you can make a big difference. Or maybe you don't want your children using Copilot. For that, create a profile for your kids that doesn't have Copilot enabled. There are plenty of reasons why you might want Microsoft's AI enabled or disabled. With Edge, that choice is yours to make.

4. Plugins

With Copilot on Edge, you get easy access to Plugins you can install for different conversations. At the moment, the Plugins feature is fairly limited to Search, Instacart, Kayak, Klarna, OpenTable, and Shop, but I would assume this list will continue to grow as Copilot gains traction. With a free account, you can only add up to three plugins but I would venture to say (at least at the onset), you'll only be using the Search plugin. One thing to keep in mind is that data is shared with any company associated with a plugin you enable, so choose wisely. 

How do these plugins help? For example, with the Instacart plugin, you can ask about recipes, discover the ingredients you need, and have it all delivered from local stores.

Also: ChatGPT vs. Copilot: Which AI chatbot is better for you?

Hopefully, Microsoft will see to it to add more useful plugins in the future. 

You might not have started your journey with AI and that's great. But if you have dipped your toes into those waters, and you're looking for the best method of interacting with Microsoft's take on the technology, you can't go wrong with Edge. Couple that with the browser's outstanding layout and plethora of features, and it makes for an all-around outstanding experience.

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