Microsoft is rolling out version 88 of its Chromium-based Edge browser to the Stable channel, meaning mainstream users. This version of "Chredge" includes a number of new features, almost all of which have been in testing for months.
Edge 88 is getting the Password Monitor feature Microsoft announced in March 2020. Password Monitor is not the same as a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane. The Chredge Password Monitor feature will notify users if the credentials they've saved to autofill have been detected on the dark web and, if so, provide a notification inside the browser suggesting users take action. Password Monitor may take a couple of weeks to show up for new Edge users, Microsoft officials said in a January 21 blog post.
Also: Best password manager in 2021
Edge 88 also includes an option to use a built-in password generator, which debuted in test builds of Edge in September 2020. The password generator can be used when users are signing up for a new account or changing an existing password. Users will see this as a browser-suggested password drop-down in the password field. If selected, the auto-generated password will be saved and sync across devices using Edge.
Password generator is available for Windows 7, 8 and 10, as well as macOS. Users must be signed into Edge with a Microsoft work or school account and password sync must be turned on. Password Monitor also is available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 and requires users to be signed into Edge with a Microsoft work or school account.
History and tab sync are both also rolling out. (Many mainstream users, including me, have seen these sync capabilities show up in recent weeks.) History and tab sync are available to desktop and mobile customers who sign in with the same profile across devices. This feature can be turned on by going to Edge settings > profiles > sync and turning on the toggles.
MacOS users now can use the Automatic Profile Switching feature in Edge, which lets users switch between work and personal browsing activities. And Microsoft also is giving users an option to see incoming emails directly from the new tab page in Microsoft Edge using a new smart tile for Outlook. This is another of those "stay in your flow" features which may not appeal to all users; those who want it can open the new tab page, click the plus sign next to quick links and add Outlook as a suggestion to see their three most recent emails and/or start a new mail or meeting request directly from the new tab page.
Microsoft has added a sleeping tabs feature to the new Edge which releases system resources for inactive tabs in the name of performance. Users interested in this can enable the sleeping tabs option in the browser settings menu. Microsoft also has added new user-selectable themes for Edge in this release. The previously announced Sidebar Search feature, which opens a side panel when users highlight a word, right click and search, is part of the Chredge 88 update, as well.
In semi-related news, Microsoft also is adding more features to Bing, including a way to aggregate job openings from different sources across the web which users can find by searching for "jobs near me." And Microsoft is planning to add yet more shopping features to Bing and Edge "in the coming months," officials said in today's blog post. Microsoft rolled out some new shopping and coupon features to Bing and Edge in November 2020.
If you're wondering whatever happened to the vertical tabs feature that Microsoft announced in March 2020 for the new Edge, it is still coming. An updated version of that feature rolled out to testers earlier this week; it's still going to be a bit before it goes to us mainstream users.