Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Microsoft Edge has so many “features” unrelated to browsing that it’s not a stretch to call the browser bloatware. There’s some functionality that can be useful, like the Bing Chat sidebar and Drop file sharing, and then there are integrated MSN games and loans. Microsoft is now trimming a few features from Edge, starting with the next major release.

Microsoft published a changelog for Microsoft Edge 117, which is now available in the Microsoft Edge Beta Channel, and should roll out to everyone roughly two weeks from now (the most specific timeline right now is the week of September 14). It explains that a few features are being deprecated, saying, “To improve end user experience and simplify the More tools menu, the following features are being deprecated: Math Solver, Picture Dictionary, Citations, Grammar Tools, and Kids Mode.”

Math Solver was first added to Microsoft Edge in mid-2021, allowing people to take a picture of a math problem (or type it) and have it solved with a step-by-step solution. At the time, Microsoft said the goal was to “bring more equity in learning by democratizing math learning for students who need help but are unable to get access to help.” Math Solver is still available in Bing, though that version doesn’t support images, only typing or drawing the input.

Math Solver in Microsoft Edge

Picture Dictionary is an optional feature in Microsoft Edge’s Immersive Reader mode, which displays illustrations or photos when you double-click on a word. It’s similar to the Picture Dictionary feature in Microsoft 365 apps like Word and OneNote, which Microsoft says “aids reading and comprehension through multi-sensory processing.” The regular Immersive Reading mode isn’t going anywhere, though. The Grammar Tools feature being removed is also part of Immersive Reading mode, where it can highlight nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Finally, Citations was added in late 2021 as a way to generate citations in proper formats for papers from a web link, and Kids Mode is a locked-down version of Edge with a customizable allow list and a password requirement to exit.

Even though most people probably weren’t using these features, Kids Mode and Citations seem more potentially helpful than aggressive Bing integration, sidebar games, and shopping popups. However, none of these features were generating revenue for Microsoft or pushing people to other Microsoft services, so that’s probably part of the reason they are heading to the software graveyard.

Source: Microsoft via Thurrott

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By John P.

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