Microsoft's vertical tabs in its new Edge browser have been a long time in the making and they're finally available as the latest stable release of Microsoft's Chromium-based browser.
Vertical tabs are meant to exploit screen space more efficiently for users and offers a different take on how to squeeze more productivity out of the browser when there are tons of tabs open.
Vertical tabs arrive in the newly released Edge stable version 89 among other performance improvements related to Microsoft's work on toning down the burden of sleeping tabs on memory and the CPU.
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For those who haven't tested vertical tabs during the preview releases of Edge since October, the vertical tabs appear on the left-hand side and can be activated by clicking the "turn on vertical tabs" icon at the top left side of the browser. This moves all open tabs to a panel on the left edge of the browser and gives more space to show the full name of each site in a tab. The feature is available in Edge 89 for Windows 10 and macOS.
Vertical tabs are Microsoft's effort to address the packed rack of tabs that builds up during the course of a typical work-from-home day that might involve Outlook, Gmail, Zoom, Google Meets, Slack, YouTube and everything else that's happening in the browser.
"To make tab management and organization easier, vertical tabs is now generally available this month. Now everyone can view and manage their tabs from a pane on the side with a single click. This allows you to clearly see the tab titles and controls, making it easier to find and switch between the tabs you need, regardless of how many you have open," Liat Ben-Zur, Microsoft corporate vice president, said.
The other big performance feature arriving in Edge 89 is startup boost, a feature under the hood that helps the browser launch faster. Microsoft claims when it is enabled, startup times can be 29% to 41% faster than when it is not enabled.
"Startup boost works by keeping a few Microsoft Edge processes running when the browser is not visible. This allows Microsoft Edge to start more quickly when, for example, you click the Microsoft Edge icon, a hyperlink from another application, or search from the search box in the Task Bar," Microsoft explained in a blogpost.
The feature is currently rolling out to Edge users so it may not be available just yet even on the latest version of the browser.
Startup boost does consume some CPU and GPU resources but Microsoft assures users that it's minimal.
"Startup boost does not add any additional resources when Microsoft Edge browser windows are open," Microsoft claimed.
"When Microsoft Edge is closed, a set of core Microsoft Edge processes will continue to run to enable faster launches in the future. You may see browser, GPU, Network, CrashPad, or other processes running in the background. Experimentation has shown these processes have a minimal resource footprint."
Microsoft has also made it easier to access and manage browsing history without losing context of the page currently open. This is achieved by opening history as a dropdown from the toolbar instead of opening the full page view in settings.